Division of Plant Genetics, Breeding and Product Quality
Research is focused on traditional areas – such as plant genetic resources, genetic and physiological basis of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, breeding methods, technological quality of plant products, and use of protein markers – as well as the development of new research fields: in particular, biotechnology, genetic markers and agro-biodiversity. We expand studies on technological and nutrition quality and health safety of plant products. The aim is always to gain new theoretical knowledge and improve methodology, as well as providing donors and materials for applied research, breeding and agricultural practice. This contributes to the genetic improvement of agricultural crops, increasing their yield potential, obtaining desirable product quality, and improving response to different growing conditions; at the same time, minimizing the adverse impacts of agriculture on the environment. In addition, the increase of genetic diversity between and within cultivars and crop species remains important for crops breeding for specific product end-quality and maintenance of agro-biodiversity.
Principal activities of the Division include the gathering, study and conservation of plant genetic resources and their use in further research and breeding. The maintenance of high genetic diversity of crops and varieties is important for the sustainable development of agriculture. Fundamental importance for ongoing research projects and further development is attributed to biotechnology. Research activities in genomics and proteomics, GMOs, “in vitro” techniques, DNA and protein markers and doubled-haploid techniques are directly linked to the breeding programmes of collaborating partners and authorized institutions dealing with agricultural control.
Research also focuses on key crop traits underlying crop productivity, resistance to stresses, and product quality (content and quality of protein, starch and other compounds, mycotoxin contamination, etc.). Proteomic studies mainly concern stress resistance markers: genome structure in selected crops is studied and techniques for molecular diagnostics and gene mapping are verified. Methods for GMO identification and monitoring are also verified and applied with the aim of estimating bio-hazard potentials.
While the Division deals with a range of crops, the main crops under study are cereals (wheat, barley, triticale), rapeseed, selected vegetables and minor crops. Furthermore, we cooperate closely with crop breeders - especially in areas such as choice of donors of important genes and characters, development of initial breeding materials and improvement of breeding methodology.
The Division has four departments:
RNDr. Ilja Prášil, CSc. – Head of Division