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Introducing Aike Post

In this series, we introduce you to CropXR colleagues. Who are they, what do they do, and why are they passionate about their CropXR mission?

Name: Aike Post

What is your CropXR role? 
I am a partner open to share knowledge on chrysanthemum breeding, growing and genetic resources.  

Can you describe this role in a nutshell?
I am the breeding manager of Deliflor Chrysanten. I am responsible for the strategic development of new chrysanthemum varieties and breeding related research. I have 27 years of experience in chrysanthemum breeding for the world market. At Deliflor, we have strong connections with chrysanthemum growers that help us to keep up to date with the latest developments in cultivation methods. In addition, our ties with universities and their latest research in chrysanthemum are strong. Chrysanthemum has proven to be the perfect model crop for all kinds of research.  

My role within CropXR will be to apply the findings of CropXR in chrysanthemum breeding. My goal is to better understand molecular pathways which help us to select even more resilient varieties. We also need the tools that combine relevant information from the field. This information should include a combination of observations, bioassays, genomic information, models, AI, and public knowledge that will assist us in smart decision-making. It starts with the collection of all this data, which is already a challenge.

This has proven to be the perfect model crop for all kinds of research

Why are you driven to contribute to the CropXR project?
I like the broad expertise of the consortium. I find it inspiring that one of the aims is to find and apply new technologies.

What is the main challenge you face? 
Thrips are slender insects that pose an enormous threat to chrysanthemum. In particular, their resistance to repellents. As chrysanthemum breeders, we have a great need to better understand this resistance. After many years of research, we still struggle to quickly identify thrips resistant varieties. Moreover, we still not fully understand the different factors that cause their resistance. 

What do you personally hope to achieve within CropXR in the next (10) years?
I hope we will find a set of molecular markers that can identify thrips resistance and other pests. Those markers should identify both bioassays as well as field resistance.
Personally, I would like to extend my network in the academic field and learn more about the improvement of our breeding process.