Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are grown in more than hundred tropical and subtropical countries and provide staple food for hundreds of millions of people. Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic, seed sterile vegetatively propagated diploid, triploid and tetraploid clones, threatened by many diseases and pests. Breeding of improved cultivars is hampered by seed sterility, lack of knowledge on genetic diversity within Musa, as well as lack of information on genome structure.

We are interested in molecular evolution and organization of Musa genome and serve as the Musa Genome Resources Centre (MGRC). The primary aim of the Centre is to support research activities of the Musa Genomic Consortium by distributing Musa genome resources to Consortium members and by developing new resources.

We study phylogenetic relationships within the family Musaceae and serve as the Musa Genotyping Centre.


Structure and organization of Musa spp. nuclear genome

We are using different approaches (molecular methods and new generation sequencing) to identify banana specific repetitive DNA sequences. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is used to study genome organization of specific DNA sequences in the nuclear genome of banana (Musa spp.) and Ensete species as well as for development of chromosome-specific cytogenetic markers.

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Diversity and phylogenetic relationships within family Musaceae

Phylogenetic relationships within the genus Musa have never been fully resolved. We are studying the diversity within family Musaceae using different types of DNA markers (microsatellites, DArT). We are using also sequencing data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and genic sequences for analysis of phylogenetic relationships within the Musaceae.

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NextGen sequencing data 

We have used NextGen sequencing technologies, especially 454 sequencing to analyze repetitive part of banana genome (Musa spp.) and used them for comparative analysis within family Musaceae.

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Flow cytometry

Ploidy level (number of chromosomes) and genome size estimation are one of the basic cytogenetic characters. We are analyzing the ploidy level and/or genome size from fresh cigar leaves using flow cytometry.

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