Laboratory of Molecular Analyses of the Institute of Botany is a separate research unit of the Institute but it also provides a general platform of molecular studies on various groups of plants (vascular plants, mosses, algae) and fungi (including lichens). As such, it has two main aspects of its scientific activity:
1) Organization and coordination of an efficient use of the laboratory facilities by all interested research groups in the Institute as well as in the framework of external collaboration. The lab supports the molecular research of all departments and laboratories of the Institute. It has also a role of stimulating the formation of interdisciplinary working groups integrating researchers from various units in order to efficiently explore the potential of genetic tools.
2) Development of own research axis. Our activities are centered on the interdisciplinary research group Molecular biogeography, founded and coordinated by the Laboratory. Research focus of the group is on structure and patterns of biodiversity and its change dynamics in time and space. The main biological models of our research are found within the cold (alpine and arctic) ecosystems.
We are particularly interested in applying molecular tools to unravel patterns of genetic diversity and divergence in cold-adapted organisms with disjunctive distribution ranges, in order to reflect their historical biogeography and population genetic processes within- and among extant populations. By placing our results in the context of climate change we attempt to infer the influence of past changes and attempt modeling of future distribution dynamics of high-mountain organisms.
Geographically, our research encompasses distribution ranges of high-mountain and arctic-alpine species, with a particular focus on the island-like alpine life zone of the Carpathians and other mountain ranges of Central Europe.
Apart from this main axis, the Laboratory carries out various other studies dealing with phylogeography, phylogeny and evolution, as well as conservation genetics.
The laboratory maintains a well equipped working platform including a high-throughput DNA isolation site, several thermocyclers, an automated capillary sequencer and adequate peripheral facilities. Molecular methods applied in the lab include DNA direct sequencing, PCR-RFLP, AFLP genotyping, microsatellite analysis.