Wide Hybridization Group

Our group is studying various aspects of interspecific and intergeneric hybridization and polyploidization. We use molecular cytogenetics, flow cytometry, bioinformatics, genomics and molecular biology techiques to analyze genome composition, evolution and function of hybrid genomes. Our objects are Festuca x Lolium hybrids (Festulolium) and hybrids of wheat x rye and wheat x barley.

Our current topics cover:

  •           meiosis and genome stability of wide hybrids
  •           3D organization of hybrid nucleus
  •           parental-specific gene expression
As we are interested in meiosis, we made illustrations of complete meiosis using Lolium x Festuca hybrids.

We are members of Eucarpia Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses Section - webpage


  • March 15, 2021: New paper of Vaclav Mahelka and Jan Safar on the mysterious fragments of Panicum genome in wild barley species with our contribution has been just released as a highlighted paper of the last issue of Plant Journal with cover image from David (link)
  • February 22, 2021: Paper of Prof. Trnka and his colleagues (with our little contribution) has been published in Biologia Plantarum. See how the European climate will look like in future and which grass species we should focus to (link)
  • February 2, 2021: Our paper on chromatid and crossover interference with outstanding figures of meiosis has been recently published in Journal of Experimental Botany (link)
  • February 1, 2021: David has been appointed as Associate Professor (docent) at Charles University in Prague
  • January 10, 2021: David became an editor of Cytogenetic and Genome Research, a journal publishing reports and reviews in human, animal, insect, and plant cytogenetics, including clinical, molecular, and comparative cytogenetics (link).
  • January 7, 2021: EUCARPIA Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses Section Meeting will be held from September 5 to September 9 2021 in Freising, Germany. See the webpage for registration, papers submission and more information (link).
  • December 17, 2020: Our paper "Hormonal responses associated with acclimation to freezing stress in Lolium perenne" has been published in Environmental and Experimental Botany. (fulltext).
  • October 7, 2020: Our paper "Spontaneous natural formation of interspecific hybrids within the Festuca-Lolium complex" has been published in Biologia Plantarum. (full text).
  • September 7, 2020: Our two papers "Drought tolerance and regrowth capacity revealed in the Festuca-Lolium complex" and "Cytogenetic insights into Festulolium" have been published in Festulolium Special Issue of Biologia Plantarum. Available to read here and here.
  • August 20, 2020: Our new paper "Triploid forage grass hybrids Festuca apennina x F. pratensis display extraordinary heterosis for yield characteristics" has been published in Euphytica (full text)
  • July 9, 2020: Review paper of Radim Svačina, Pierre Sourdille, David Kopecký and Jan Bartoš about chromosome pairing in allopolyploids has been published in Frontiers in Plant Science (full text)
  • June 17, 2020: Paper of Jana Zwyrtková and colleagues about repetitive elements in grasses has been published in BMC Plant Biology. (full text)
  • February, 2020: Joanna Majka joined our team as a postdoc. Welcome!
  • February 25, 2020: Our review article "Competition of Parental Genomes in Plant Hybrids" has been published in Frontiers in Plant Science. (full text)


PhD. study

Title: Genetic and epigenetic changes associated with the allopolyploidization in plants​

Allopolyploidization is one of the key mechanisms of plant speciation. Merging two genomes of distinct species followed or preceded by whole genome duplication provide an unprecedented opportunity to combine agronomically useful traits from two species in a single organism. As such, wide hybridization became a powerful tool in plant breeding. However, newly developed hybrids undergo massive genetic and epigenetic changes commonly known as ‚genomic shock‘. Studying these changes in newly established grass hybrids (Festuca x Lolium) will be the main aim of the candidate. He/She will use bioinformatic tools to analyze sequence to assess gene expression and epigenetic regulations in hybrids during the stress treatment and in controlled conditions. The work requires at least basic computational skills and enthusiasm to learn new techniques and approaches.  MSc in biological sciences or informatics is required. Contact us at kopecky@ueb.cas.cz

Any other student's position opened: 

If you think you are real hard-worker willing to do overtime work in lab with a lot of enthusiasm and responsibility, you are welcome to contact us on kopecky@ueb.cas.cz