Péter Poczai
  • Unioninkatu 44, PO Box 7, Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, Main Building, Room 306 (3rd Floor)

    00014 Helsinki

  • PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)



  • Viikinkaari 1, Biocentre 3

    00790 Helsinki



Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Doctor of Plant Health (MSc), Doctor of Plant Genetics (PhD), Docent (Plant Systematics and Evolution)


Research interests

My research lies in the area of plant molecular systematics, molecular evolution, and comparative genomics. I am integrating different aspects of plant evolutionary biology into a complex phylogenetic framework to achieve my goals. My research includes a range of experimental approaches, from the collection and observation of species in the field to the generation of large genomic data sets. Beginning with my work I have been interested in wild relatives of crop plants and their use in plant breeding.  Most of this work involves the large and economically important nightshade family (Solanaceae) including potato, tomato and eggplant. I have long been interested in the genetics of underutilized crops such black nightshades called the Solanum nigrum complex or sect. Solanum. I am focusing on the investigation higher-level relationships and population genetic patterns and possible utilization for plant breeding. Towards this direction I have assembled and characterizing an ex situ germplasm collection from this species group through the European continent and pointed out possible progenitors of polyploidy spices. Recently my research seeks to advance the application of next generation sequencing technologies to evolutionary genetics questions and to improve the bioinformatics tools to analyze the resulting data.


Solanum: phylogeny, biology and utilization

Solanum is a genus of nearly 1,400 species and only a small portion of them are cultivated. It is obvious that we should aim to use the traits provided by the large and unexplored diversity. This genus is important from an agricultural perspective as well as from an evolutionary standpoint. The genus consists of valuable crops like eggplant, tomato, and especially potato, all economically extremely important in European agriculture. Potato ranks as the world’s third most important food crop, with increasing production worldwide. Species of Solanum represent nearly 1% of the world’s angiosperm flora, which might be attributed to its great antiquity and an extraordinary rate of speciation. This huge diversity in one genus is quite unusual in angiosperms. Exotic germplasm resources, which include wild species and landraces, often carry many agriculturally desirable alleles and unknown evolutionary history. Wild Solanum species have been known for long time to be resistant to many pathogens. Therefore wild resistant species have been used in studies aimed at the identification of disease resistance genes. Due to the large diversity of Solanaceae, wild species with important traits could also be important minor food crops in some parts of the world, while the same species can become invasive weeds of agriculture and rural habitats. In addition, these plants could also serve as alternative hosts for major diseases for crop plants.

Find out More at the Solanaceae Source


Education/Academic qualification

Plant Systematics and Evolution, Docent (Associate Professor), Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Award Date: 11 Jan 2021

External positions

OECD CRP Research Fellow, Radboud University, Netherlands

15 Jan 201928 Jun 2019

Scientific Authority (Plants), CITES

1 Sep 20155 Sep 2019

Fields of Science

  • 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
  • Plant Systematics
  • Phylogenetics
  • Solanaceae
  • Taxonomy
  • Phylogenomics
  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Biogeography
  • Genomics
  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • Chloroplasts
  • Plastid Genomics
  • comparative genomics
  • 4111 Agronomy
  • crop wild relatives
  • Genetics Resources
  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Eggplant
  • Orphan Crops
  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • History of Science; Roma and Travellers; Holocaust- and Genocide Studies; Memory Studies
  • History of Genetics
  • Philosophy of Sciences
  • Philosophy of Biology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.