Ask the pea

Ask the pea

The foundations of modern plant research

The brochure "Ask the pea" is covering the topics plant research and green genetechnology genetic engineering. To understand this complex topic as a whole, it is nescessary to know some basics. For an objective evaluation of genetic engineering, it is nescessary to connect it with natural processes and other techniques, which are already in existence and used for a long time.

Next to the basics and history of plant research, topics as plant breeding, ecology, environment and agricultur are explained in the different booklets. Each of the 5 booklets deals with one topic.

The Idea

We want to give scientifically well-founded and generally understandable information about plant research and genetic engineering.

The Goal

To explain basics in a clear and demonstrative. To demonstrate relationships generally understandable. To create a well-founded basic for everybody, who would like to form his/her own opinion related to the adressed topics.

The pea is giving an overview about plant research. The brochure is covering methodical basics ind plant research and explains why genetic engineering methods are needed in the lab and green house to gain knowledge about genes and their functions. [more]
Plant breeding is taking place since more than 10.000 years. Plant characteristics are optimized for human use, earlier without knowledge about the Mendalian Laws by a trial-and error process and today with the help of detailed analyses methods. [more]
This brochure centers the term „ecology“ and explains ecological research and its activities. The principles of evolution and coevoluation are explained and the importance of ecosystems is revealed. Moreover, nature protection and safety research are in the focus. [more]
The "Carrot" gives insights into the basics of agriculture and provides an overview about developments in agriculture among different eras. It illustrates social upheavals and how they influenced, in combination with new scientific findings, the cultivation of land. [more]
The „Grape“ deals with the basics of molecular biology. Who wants to know more about the structure of the genome, how genes result in traits or why children differ from their parents and how gamete formation is involved in this process, can find answers in the brochure. [more]

The Editors

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Am Mülenberg 1 ⋅ 14476 Potsdam-Golm ⋅ E-Mail:

Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology Jena
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research Cologne
Nuertingen-Geislingen University of Applied Science
Wissenschaftlerkreis Grüne Gentechnik e.V. (WGG) Frankfurt a.M.

Editorial Office

Text and Conception: Ursula Roß-Stitt, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP)

Editorial Collaboration:
Dr. Ulrike Glaubitz, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology,
Sabine Schuh, Communication,

Prof. Dr. Thomas Altmann, Leibnitz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (Ask the Grape, Part 1, 2017)
Joachim Rinder, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (Ask the Pea, Plum, Barley, First Edition 2007)
Dr. Jan Kellmann, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Ask the Pea, Plum, Barley, First Edition 2007)

Design, Illustration, Production

Stefan Pigur,


Dr. Neysan Donnelly,

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