Genetic resources of vegetables and special crops

Leader of the research program: Karel Dušek and the respective department

Plant genetic resources represent a unique natural source and their genetic diversity is important for further improvement of desired traits of crops, broadening of the genetic basis of commercial cultivars, enhancing food safety and quality, and also for the care for landscape and environment. The Department of Genetic Resources for Vegetables, Medicinal and Special Plants CRI in Olomouc keeps a broad collections of genetic resources of vegetables (9,245 accessions), medicinal, aromatic and culinary plants (MAPs, 828 accessions) traditionally grown in the Central Europe and a collection of fungi (mainly morel). These collections represent an important potential source of new traits for breeding (e.g. phenotype characteristics, resistance genes, content of nutritionally important substances and secondary metabolites).

Within this research objective, passport and description data of individual accessions will be collected. Morphological, phenotype and yield characteristics, resistance against pests and diseases and contents of nutritional compounds and secondary metabolites will be investigated. Using molecular approaches, diversity of the collections will be studied and genetic markers of economically important traits will be obtained. Additionally, cultivation technologies of selected crops will be optimized. We also plan to develop and employ new bioanalytical methods (using liquid and gas chromatography together with mass spectrometry detection) for the analysis of natural products. This multidisciplinary approach will result in more efficient work with genetic resources, will facilitate selection of cultivars and genotypes applicable for further breeding, cultivation and utilization by commercial subjects and will enable the broadening of international cooperation and increase competitiveness of the Czech agriculture.