Universitas: Applied research cannot do without genome editing
As a little boy he wanted to be a gamekeeper, but eventually his passion for plants won. Plant geneticist Aleš Pečinka from the Center of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research has moved from classical “flower lover” through cytology to molecular biology and epigenetics.
Today he is one of the leading experts in the research of cell nucleus of plants, and, as he calls himself, an ambassador of genetically modified crops. If we, as humanity, want to survive and not burden the environment, we simply cannot do without genetic engineering.
Immediately after graduating from college he left for abroad and stayed there for sixteen years. He did his doctorate in Germany at the Leibnitz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Research
. Then went to Vienna for a post-doctoral project at the then-established Gregor Mendel Institute for Plant Molecular Biology. “And then I was very lucky to become the head of a research group at the Max Planck Plant Breeding Research Institute
in Cologne. These positions are listed for a certain period of time, usually for five years, followed by one or more two-year extension periods,” Pečinka describes his steep career. Already during the extension, he began to look around for opportunities to grow. At that time he contacted the head of the Olomouc workplace of the Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR
and the scientific director of CRH
Jaroslav Doležel. “The chemistry was just right, and I also knew that the Olomouc workplace is well equipped and the research here is complementary to what I was doing abroad. On top of that, I had family ties here, so it was decided,” Pečinka explains the reasons for returning home, the Czech Republic.
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