Enkhuizen, The Netherlands (Fulltime)

Intern Plant growth-defense trade-off


Plant performance

What are you going to do as an Intern plant growth-defense trade-off?

As an Intern plant growth defense trade you are going to use Arabidopsis as model to study plant growth-defense trade-off. Pathogen resistance is of major importance for plant crop production. Introduction of resistance genes is the most commonly used strategy. Alternatively, mutation of Susceptibility (S-) genes may provide a more durable and broad spectrum resistance. Plants mutated in the S-gene DMR6 (Downy Mildew Resistance 6) confer resistance to biotrophic pathogens. DMR6 acts as repressor of the salicylic acid (SA) defence pathway. Therefore, the mutant has increased SA defence capacity and an enhanced immune response after pathogen attack. In some conditions, increased SA defence can lead to growth suppression, which is referred to as the growth-defence trade-off.

Due to this trade-off, it is necessary that plants strictly control the balance between growth and defence. However, the extent of growth repression is dependent on the environment. To further study the growth-defence trade-off, we have obtained several candidate gene mutants of Arabidopsis which are putatively involved in this process. These candidate gene mutants have been crossed with DMR6, enabling us to investigate the role of these candidate genes in the growth-suppression phenotypes. Moreover, different environmental stimuli will be screened to assess the effect on the growth repression. This project will be closely linked to a project with the Plant-Microbe Interactions group at Utrecht University.

Research goals and techniques

  • Sowing and genotyping Arabidopsis mutants, to confirm presence of the mutation and isolate homozygotes (DNA isolation, PCR).
  • Gene expression analyses / genetic analyses.
  • Identifying different stress conditions and their impact on the growth-defence trade-off.
  • Monitor plant performance and growth (leaves and roots) (photosynthesis and chlorophyll measurements, ROS measurements, in vitro plant growth).
  • Study the effect of several candidate genes (mutants) on the growth-defence trade-off.

Your power

You are an enthusiastic and curious Bachelor or MSc student, always interested in learning more about plant growth aspects. You are a networker and have excellent interpersonal communication skills. You want to learn more about plant physiology, genetic analysis, and (a)-biotic stress responses.

In short, you:

  • are a Bachelor or MSc Student with good plant physiology / pathology skills;
  • have affinity with plants;
  • have good communication skills in English language;
  • are available for a minimal period of 6 months, preferably starting June/July 2019.

Our power

Enza Zaden is a vegetable breeding company that develops vegetable varieties. We produce and sell the seeds of these varieties all over the world. Both for conventional and organic growers.

Our goal is to grant people access to healthy vegetables. Anywhere in the world. Every day, more than 460 million people worldwide eat our vegetables. So, we are getting there ... but there is still enough work to be done! Of course, we look further than present needs. In 2050, when there will be about 10 billion inhabitants on our planet, we also want to make sure that people have access to healthy vegetables.

To achieve this, our vegetable breeders work with the best that nature offers. Supported by state-of-the-art technologies to speed up our breeding process. And that is really necessary, because currently the development of a new vegetable variety takes at least 6 years. We focus on higher yield, resistance to diseases and pests and climate extremes such as heat and drought. And on taste, shelf life and nutrients. The results? Strong, healthy tasty and climate-proof vegetable varieties with higher yield per square meter and less need of crop protection products or fertilizer. In short, sustainability is truly in our DNA.

Our head office in Enkhuizen is our home base, but we have colleagues all over the world. Enza Zaden is an independent family business, where around 2000 employees from more than 40 nationalities closely work together in international teams.


Please, send your application to our HR department, via the button below. More information:

  • Annemarie Weening, Recruiter, +31 228 784 627