In 1971 the Central Research Institute of Forest Genetics and Breeding has established the Department of Genetics, Cytology and Embryology. For over 50 years of its existence the Department’s scientific success was determined by the staff of the department and its leaders – scientists like S.I. Mashkin, S.A. Petrov, A.K. Butorina, Yu.N. Isakov, A.I. Iroshnikov, G.P. Butova, etc.

      At the origins of the Department stood professor S.I. Mashkin, who also worked at the Department of Genetics, Breeding and Theory of Evolution of Voronezh State University. He became the first Head of the Department of Genetics, Cytology and Embryology in 1971-1972.

Sergey Ivanovich Mashkin, doctor of biological sciences, professor (born in 1912)

      Planning the research activity of the Department, Sergey Ivanovich identified a wide range of priority research areas in the field of forest genetics. They included population genetics, cytogenetics, embryology, chemical mutagenesis, biotechnology, and others. 

      In 1973 Stanislav Alexandrovich Petrov became the new Head of the Department

Stanislav Alexandrovich Petrov, doctor of biological sciences (born in 1935)

      Under the leadership of S. A. Petrov the Department recruited a number of new employees.

The Department of Genetics, Cytology and Embryology, 1974.

      In the 70-80s, under the leadership of S. A. Petrov, the Department carried out various research projects on forest genetics and created a number of test plots. It worked with Scots pine, Norway spruce and Siberian spruce, pedunculate oak, birch, poplar and aspen species. In the late 80s, the Department engaged in research on molecular biochemistry and genetics.

      In 1993 Yu.N. Isakov took over from S.A. Petrov. He headed the Department from 1993 to 2006.

      The main scientific and practical achievements of the Department include:

  • The program of genetic improvement of Russian forests (1995);
  • The provisions on the conservation of the tree species genetic fund (2005);
  • The procedure for forest genetic monitoring;
  • Recommendations for the conservation and reproduction of valuable Karelian birch, aspen, white poplar and grey poplar genotypes using biotechnological methods (2005)
  • The creation of test plots of Scots pine offspring obtained from trees with different level of self-fertility (1993);
  • The creation of test plots of different Scots pine forms and hybrids (1997);
  • The creation of test plots of Karelian birch (1993), poplar (1996) and aspen (2001) by in vitro technology.

      In 2013 the Institute was reorganized and named the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “All-Russian Research Institute of Forest Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology” (Russian abbreviation - VNIILGISbiotech). Its priority areas of work became forest genetics, breeding and biotechnology.

      I.N. Varivodina is now Head of the Department of Forest Genetics And Biotechnology. The department consists of 3 laboratories: 1) Laboratory of Ecological Genetics, 2) Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics and Plant Physiology, 3) Laboratory of Biotechnology. It also includes the Forest Biotechnology Center.

Inna Nikolaevna Varivodina, candidate of technical sciences, associate professor

      These days new scientific challenges have emerged. The most relevant ones are the conservation and reproduction of the genetic fund of forest species, the assessment of their ecological potential and stress resistance, the identification of valuable genotypes, the development of environmentally-friendly biotechnology methods, genetics and breeding for drought resistance. These matters would have to be resolved by the Institute's team taking into consideration the rapid development of the world forest genetics and biotechnology.

Stuff of the Department of Forest Genetics and Biotechnology

      For more than 50 years of its work the Department have conducted studies on population genetics; self-fertility and inbreeding depression in forest trees; on selection of Scots pine for drought resistance; on cytogenetic; on embryology; on experimental mutagenesis and polyploidy; on forest biotechnology, on genetic improvement and somatic hybridization of forest trees, and many other matters.