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Experience report

Research stay, Mathieu Ayenan (World Vegetable Center, Cotonou Benin)

“From March to April 2023, I had a six-week research stay at the Quantitative Genetics and Genomics of Plant Group (QQGP) at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (https://www.quantitativegenetics.hhu.de/en/). During my stay, I conducted population structure analysis and genome-wide association studies for agronomically important traits in tetraploid potatoes. This was my first time working on polyploid species. My stay at the QQGP has been scientifically enriching and I acquired new skills in terms of data analysis which will definitely be useful throughout my career. If you are looking for a place to refine your skills in genomic data analysis and quantitative genetics, QGGP is definitely the place to visit.

I also had the opportunity to attend the tenth anniversary of the Cluster of Excellence in Plant Science (CEPLAS) in Cologne enabling me to know more about the great achievements of this unique Cluster of Excellence in the plant science research landscape. I made contact with other researchers which I believe will result in sustainable collaborations.

I am not too adventurous with foods but I made interesting culinary discoveries at the Asian Wok Loc Phat (A Vietnamese restaurant) and at HHU Mensa. My favourite dish was Thursday's soup at HHU Mensa :).

I am grateful to Prof. Benjamin Stich for offering me the opportunity to visit his Group and to all the QGGP group members for their warm welcome and the lovely ambience. I am particularly indebted to the Competence Area Food Security at the University of Cologne for funding my stay and providing the necessary logistic support that made my stay enjoyable. I am thankful to my employer, the World Vegetable Center (https://avrdc.org/), for allowing me to undertake this research stay.”