Foto av 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



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Personlig profil


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

Utbildning / akademisk kvalifikation

Plant Systematics and Evolution, Docent (Associate Professor), Bio- och miljövetenskapliga fakulteten

Tilldelningsdatum: 11 jan. 2021

Externa befattningar

OECD CRP Research Fellow, Radboud University, Netherlands

15 jan. 201928 juni 2019

Scientific Authority (Plants), CITES

1 sep. 20155 sep. 2019


  • 1183 Växtbiologi, mikrobiologi, virologi
  • 1181 Ekologi, evolutionsbiologi
  • 1184 Genetik, utvecklingsbiologi, fysiologi
  • 4111 Jordbruksvetenskap
  • 615 Historia och arkeologi

Internationellt och inhemskt samarbete

Publikationer och projekt inom de senaste fem åren.