Photo of Péter Poczai
  • PL 7 (Unioninkatu 44)



  • Viikinkaari 1, Biocentre 3

    00790 Helsinki


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)


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

External positions

Scientific Authority (Plants), CITES

1 Sep 2015 → …


  • 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
  • Plant Systematics
  • Phylogenetics
  • Solanaceae
  • Taxonomy
  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Biogeography
  • phylogenetics, genomics, population genetics
  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • History of Genetics
  • Chloroplasts
  • Plastid Genomics
  • comparative genomics
  • 4111 Agronomy
  • crop wild relatives
  • Genetics Resources
  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Eggplant
  • Orphan Crops

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2008 2019

The emergence of genetics from Festetics’ sheep through Mendel’s peas to Bateson’s chickens

T. Szabó, A. & Poczai, P., Jun 2019, In : Journal of Genetics. 98, 2, 7 p., 63.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Sequencing the plastid genome of giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida, Asteraceae) from a herbarium specimen

Sablok, G., Amiryousefi, A., He, X., Hyvönen, J. T. & Poczai, P., 28 Feb 2019, In : Frontiers in plant science. 10, 18 p., 218.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Plastomics of charophycean Coleochaete orbicularis and embryophyte Blasia pusilla

Sablok, G., He, X., Miranto, M. J., Peltomaa, E., Bell, N., Sleith, R., Karol, K., Delwiche, C., Paulin, L. G., Poczai, P. & Hyvönen, J. T., 2018, p. 541. 1 p.

Research output: Conference materialsPosterResearchpeer-review

Shedding new light on the origin and spread of the brinjal eggplant (Solanum melongena L.; Solanaceae) and its wild relatives

Aubriot, X., Knapp, S., Syfert, M., Poczai, P. & Buerki, S., Jul 2018, In : American Journal of Botany. 105, 7, p. 1175-1187 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Projects 2012 2022

PLAGE: Genetic diversity, conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources

Poczai, P., Amiryousefi, A., Cseh, A., Karsai, I., Balla, K., Kiss, T., Bányai, J. & Illés, K.


Project: Research project

SOLPHYLO: Phylogenetic Relationships and Organellar Genome Evolution in Solanaceae

Poczai, P., Hyvönen, J., Amiryousefi, A., Aubriot, X., Sablok, G., Särkinen, T., Knapp, S., Buerki, S., Syfert, M., He, X., Gagnon, E., Orejuela, A., Barboza, G., Baden, M. & van der Weerden, G. M.

Itä-Suomen yliopisto, Jyväskylän yliopisto, Uudenmaan liitto


Project: Research project

The history of genetics: pre-Mendelian research networks

Poczai, P., T. Szabó, A., Muszynski, L., Sekerák, J. & Santiago-Blay, J.

Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki


Project: Research project


Activities 2010 2019

Andrés Orejuela

Péter Poczai (Host)
11 Oct 201821 Oct 2018

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

The 15th Solanaceae Conference

Péter Poczai (Attendee)
30 Sep 20184 Oct 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars


Péter Poczai (Attendee)
26 Sep 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Attila T. Szabó

Péter Poczai (Host)
16 Apr 201821 Apr 2018

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Tiina Särkinen

Péter Poczai (Host)
8 Apr 201818 Apr 2018

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Press / Media

A Hungarian Count who thought about genes first

Péter Poczai


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

News from FinCEAL Plus Grantees

Péter Poczai


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

How Elephants Spread Eggplant Across A Continent

Péter Poczai


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media