Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics and Plant Physiology started in 1970, since the establishment of the Central Research Institute of Forest Genetics and Breeding. Until the 90s, the laboratory was called "the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Plant Physiology", at the moment it was headed by doctor of biological sciences R.G. Tomchuk, succeeded in 1976 by A.E. Samsonova, senior researcher, candidate of biological sciences.
Team of the Department, 2000
The priorities for the scientific research works of the laboratory included the study of metabolic process, photosynthetic characteristics, biochemical and biophysical processes of various tree species, forms and varieties. The researchers were truly ahead of their time, they used the advanced methods and equipment and performed chromatographic amino acid composition analysis of proteins, analysis of turpentine oil composition, growth regulators research, isoenzyme analysis, etc. In the 80s A.E. Samsonova began to work with isoenzymes genetics long before molecular markers gained recognition in forest genetics.
Junior research scientists of the Laboratory T.B. Bolgova and S.S. Selezneva conducting an analysis of the total nucleic acid content in the Scots pine needles
In the 90s as a result of insufficient funding there was a significant reduction of the Institute staff, which also affected the Laboratory. It became a part of the Department of Genetics. The emergence of new work priorities in forest genetics makes it necessary for the Department to form a Genetic Engineering Group, headed by V.M. Kolesnichenko, and a few years later — a Biochemical Genetics Group, headed by I.I. Kamalova. The Genetic Engineering Group developed genetic engineering and somatic hybridization methods in order to improve the efficiency of the breeding process. The group developed methods of tree species transformation with the use of Agrobacterium strains. For the first time in Russia, the scientists of the Institute obtained a transformed tree (silver birch). That was a major step forward promising a new era of genetically modified trees.
At the same time, international cooperation was steadily advancing. The employees took part in international work groups involved in conservation of forest genetic resources programs. In 1996, A.I. Iroshnikov and I.I. Kamalova took part in the International Workshop on Sustainable Forest Genetic Resources Programs in the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union. It was held in the national park Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Belarus. The workshop was organized by the International Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (IPGRI).
In the 2000s, international researchers significantly simplified DNA research technologies, which led to the introduction of different types of DNA markers into science. Also in the early 2000s the Institute purchased new equipment for PCR analysis.
Currently, the Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics and Plant Physiology is headed by leading research scientist I. I. Kamalova. The priorities for the scientific research works of the Laboratory are:
- scientific support for genetic breeding programmes;
- study of the adaptation process and stress resistance of tree species;
- study of the genetic diversity of the main forest-forming species;
- conservation of forest genetic resources in the changing environmental conditions.
I.I. Kamalova, head of the Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics and Plant Physiology, leading research scientist, candidate of biological sciences
Young scientists conducting microsatellite analysis
One of the priorities for the scientific research works of the Laboratory is the international cooperation for conservation of forest genetic resources, which recently has been given a new impetus.
In 2014, the Institute signed a cooperation agreement with the Forest Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus in the field of molecular forest genetics.