Laboratory of Molecular Ecology

The laboratory conducts research on the genetic diversity, population genetic structure and peculiarities of its formation, phylogeny and phylogeography of spreading and reproducing species of animals and model plants, as well as research on the morphology and systematics of parasites of the genus Sarcocystis, using molecular markers. The laboratory has all necessary equipment for DNA research, enabling DNA isolation, concentration determination, fragment amplification, electrophoretic analysis, visualization of amplified fragments, DNA sequencing, and size determination of microsatellite fragments. Molecular tests are performed using an 8-capillary “Applied Biosystems 3500 Genetic Analyzer” device, plate centrifuge “Eppendorf Centrifuge 5430”, thermal cyclers “Eppendorf”, Applied Biosystems Veriti 96 Well Thermal Cycler, “GeneAmp PCR System 9700”. The gel documentation system “BioDocAnalyze” is used to visualize the amplified fragments. Research on Sarcocystis and other parasitic protozoa is carried out using a Nikon ECLIPSE 80i light microscope with the INFINITY3 image analysis system. Data are analyzed using modern molecular data analysis software.

 The main directions of research carried out by laboratory scientists involve the following:

  • Research on the prevalence, genetic diversity, life cycles, and identification of new species of parasites of the genus Sarcocystis by expanding research geography (intensifying cooperation with parasitologists, genetics, and veterinary specialists from Spain, Austria, Finland, and other countries), improving research methods for determining the species composition of parasites from intermediate and final host muscle tissues, predator intestines, and from environmental samples.
  • Studies on wild populations and laboratory lines of convenient model plant species (e.g. Lemna minor) for the creation of laboratory lines convenient for conducting experiments under controlled conditions and evaluating the effects of various environmental factors, such as UV and electromagnetic radiation, on growth parameters and the potential to generate point mutations in specific loci.
  • Research on genetic diversity of animals of different systematic groups: fish (e.g. Perca fluviatilis, Anguilla anguilla, Acipenser oxyrinchus), birds (e.g. Streptopelia turtur, Columba palumbus, Coturnix coturnix), small mammals (e.g. Microtus agrestis, Microtus oeconomus, Myodes glareolus) and  game species (deer, wild boar, predatory mammals, mallards, etc.), identification of population genetic structure, phylogeny, phylogeography, effects of anthropogenic activities on wild populations and consequences for living nature and humans.
  • Accumulation of molecular databases of researched species and development of cooperation with such state institutions as the Ministry of Environment, the Fisheries Service under the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Institute for Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment in conducting applied commissioned and fundamental research related to the identification of tissues of animal origin, determination of species dependence, genotyping, and assessing the genetic structure and condition of populations.