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The natural variation of the rich Israeli flora and its unique genetic diversity of plant-genetic-resources as well as crop-wild-relatives offer a unique opportunity to perform research of both basic interest and agronomic importance. As part of the Israel Plant Gene-Bank the main activity in the lab is focused in the study of the genetic diversity of the local plant-genetic-resources. The methodologies in the lab combine 'ecology to gene' approach aiming to understand plant-environment interactions, and in attempt to identify the molecular basis for adaptive traits.
I Eruca sativa (Brassicaceae)- Natural populations of E. sativa (wild rocket) are distributed in Israel in a narrow geographic area, along different habitats ranging from arid- dry environments to more mesic habitats (see pictures below). In our work we aim to understand the phenotypic variation using plant- biotic and abiotc interactions. By applying different tools we test to what level the environmental conditions have an effect on phenotypic variation.
E. sativa in its natural habitats in Israel
II Olea europea (olive)- This project takes a multidisciplinary approach to study the phenotypic and genotypic diversity of old local grafted landrace olive trees and their relationship to environmental parameters. The identification of genotypes adapted to particular environmental conditions is a first step to understanding the genetic basis of adaptation in olive trees. Eventually this may lead to the identification of genes that play a role in stress related adaptive traits. For this purpose, it is planned to study the phenotypic diversity (e.g. chemical profiling of olive oil, tolerance to abiotic and biotic conditions) among local old trees (>500 years old). Molecular markers (nuclear microsatellites) are applied to detect the genetic variation.
Old Old olive trees in Israel