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Ornamental Plants and Agricultural Biotechnology
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Administration - Plant sciences
Ornamental Plants and Agricultural Biotechnology
Head: Iris Yedidia, Ph.D.

The department of Ornamental Plants and Agricultural Biotechnology at the ARO serves the Israeli farmers by conducting advanced research on ornamental plants and agricultural biotechnology.  Our vision is to excel in agricultural research and development in order to support and improve the agricultural sector and increase its impact on the Israeli society and landscape. We combine applicative research to solve short-term agricultural problems with basic and biotechnological research in areas related to ornamental plants and various other crops. We hope to expand the agricultural products that are available to growers and consumers worldwide, by applying the well-known creativity of the Israeli nation into agricultural production and the flower industry.

Specific objectives are:

  • Development of new ornamentals by classic and molecular breeding.
  • Development of new agricultural varieties using biotechnology.
  • Dissemination of new products, methods and knowledge developed in the agricultural community.
  • Training of the next generation researchers in the field of ornamental science and agricultural biotechnology.

Among our achievements we can appoint the breeding of popular ornamental varieties including the Narcissus "Ziva" which conquered the world, a very successful cultivar of ornamental sunflowers "Orit" and unique in color strains of Hippeastrum "Ruby Star" and "Opal Star ". In addition, researchers of the department developed methods for propagation and acclimation of ornamentals and innovative flowering techniques that enabled export of Peony and various geophytes to Europe at optimal marketing dates. 


(click here for figure details)

(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
Arazi Tzahi, Ph.D. The interest of our group is in the functions of small RNAs in plants with focus on micro-RNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs play important regulatory roles in plant development, stress and metabolism by negatively regulating gene expression. Central goals of our research are to elucidate the roles of plant miRNAs and their target mRNAs in flower and fruit development and to utilize this knowledge for biotechnological improvement of agricultural crops. Toward these goals, we study the involvement of miRNAs and their corresponding targets in tomato flower and fruit development and the effects of their de-regulation on flower and fruit phenotypes.
Bocobza Samuel, Ph.D. The laboratory for the study of differentiation, regeneration, and transformation of plant cells. Our laboratory develops a systematic approach to advance genetic engineering in crops by combining genome editing and somatic embryogenesis technologies. Our main subjects of research are: - Discovery of new genetic modules involved in somatic embryogenesis - Advance in regulation of gene expression strategies to advance research in genome editing and somatic embryogenesis - Virus based approach to deliver genome editing components - Transformation/Regeneration of non-model plants - Metabolic engineering
Kamenetsky Goldstein Rina, Prof. -The mechanisms of internal and environmental control of flowering and dormancy in geophytes and herbaceous perennial plants -Strategies and technologies for the development and production of ornamental and edible crops -Plant biodiversity, introduction of new ornamental plants, and their cultivation in warm regions
Koltai Hinanit, Prof. 1. Medical Cannabis: research and development of new cannabis-based medical drugs for different medical indications. 2. Medicinal plants uses for anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity
Oren-Shamir Michal, Prof. (1) Revealing the enzymatic process of active anthocyanin degradation. (2) Phenylpropanoid pathways affecting pigmentation and fragrance (3) Applied research for improving pigmentation in ornamentals (4) Effect of colored nets on the yield and quality of ornamental crops
Reuveni Moshe, Ph.D. Molecular events during shoot regeneration in plant tissue culture. Developing tissue culture methods for ornamentals The function of V-ATPase subunits.
Rimon Ben, Ph.D. In our lab we study different aspects of flowering -Control of flowering time -Fertilization process in flowering plants -Effect of temperature on the quality of cut flowers
Sadot Einat, Ph.D. Plant cell biology and the cytoskeleton Adventitious root formation
Yedidia Iris, Ph.D. Plant Microbe Interactions, Secondary Metabolites and Plant Immunity, Pectobacterium carotovorum
(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
‎‎Abu Abied ‎‎Mohamad, Ph.D.
Ayzenshtat Dana, M.Sc.
Belausov Eduard, M.Sc.
Cohen Maya, Ph.D.
Dallasheh Shada, Ms.
Eliyahu Avi, Mr.
Forer ‎‎Itzhak, Mr.
Guetta Yotam, Mr.
‎‎Ion ‎‎Aurel, M.Sc.
Kutsher Yaarit, M.Sc.
Levavi Liav, Mr.
Merchuk Lianne, Ph.D.
Ovadia Rinat, M.Sc.
Segev Daniel, M.Sc.
Shemesh-Mayer Einat, Ph.D.
Stav Ran, Mr.
Yechezkel Sela, Mr.
(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
Shalev Nurit, Ms.
(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
Evenor Dalia, Ph.D.
Kagan Sima, M.Sc.
‎‎Lipsky Alexander, Ph.D. Stable genetic transformation of plants. Testing of plant resistance to pathogenic bacteria in vivo and in vitro. Plant cell biology and optimization of biotechnological processes.
Sandler-Ziv Dorit, M.Sc.
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