Attraction of the leading scientists to Russian institutions of higher learning, research organizations of the governmental academies of sciences, and governmental research centers of the Russian Federation

1. Leading scientist's full name – Krutovsky, Konstantin Valeryevich
2. Name of laboratory – Forest Genomics Laboratory
2а. Link to the official website - http://genome.sfu-kras.ru/forest_genomics
3. Host university – Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education "Siberian Federal University"
4. Grant amount – 81.60 million roubles
5. About the leading scientist:
1. Date and place of birth – Samara, Russia, August 16, 1957
2. Citizenship – Russia
3. Ученые степень и звание - профессор, кандидат биологических наук
4. Job titles – Leading Researcher at the Institute of General Genetics named after N. I. Vavilov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of Research at the Center for Genomic Research and Education of the Siberian Federal University, professor at the Texas A&M University (USA) and Gottingen University (Germany), coordinator of the working group 2.02.00 "Genetic resources and selection of conifers" of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.
5. Primary employer - Institute of General Genetics named after N. I. Vavilov of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
6. Sphere of scientific interests – forest genomics, population genomics, evolutionary, conservational and ecological genetics, forest selection, genetic expertise of timber origins.
7. Scientific recognition – young scientist awards from the Institute of General Genetics named after N. I. Vavilov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1983, 1986, 1988, 1990); VDNKh USSR medal for outstanding achievements in forest genetics and selection in 1987; personal research grant from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn, Germany) in 1992; letter of appreciation from Bioversity Int. (Rome, Italy) in 2007 for a substantial contribution to education and training of forest biodiversity specialists; US Ministry of Agriculture Award for "Assistance in the development of sustainable agricultural production and biotechnology and strengthening of food security" in 2011.
6 Project goal – The key goal of the project is to create a new, competitive, modern, dynamic and well-equipped Forest Genomics Laboratory integrated into the educational and research infrastructure of the Siberian Federal University that is capable of performing advanced scientific research, including research in full genome sequencing, comparative analysis and annotation of genomes of the primary forest-forming arboreal species of the Russian Federation – Siberian larch (Larix sibirica Ledeb.), Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Siberian stone pine (Pinus sibirica, Du Tour.) and their most dangerous pathogens, first and foremost the Armillaria mellea s.l. and Heterobasidion annosum s.l. fungi that cause disastrous drying of Russian boreal forests exacerbated by decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature of the surface air during the periods that are physiologically most important for arboreal plants that have been recurring more frequently over the past two decades and that are most likely accounted for by climate changes.
In addition, this project will make it possible to obtain important information and design highly informative molecular-genetic markers that can be used effectively to identify timber origins, analyse and monitor genetic variability of conifer forests and their adaptation to climate changes, as well as to develop selection and conservation programs. These are some of the forest industry's priority objectives accounted for by the Comprehensive program of development of biotechnologies in the Russian Federation for the period ending in 2020 that was approved by the Government of the Russian Federation on April 24, 2012.
7. Key objectives:
• To establish a Forest Genomics Laboratory integrated into the educational and research infrastructure of the Siberian Federal University that is capable of performing advanced scientific research in forest genetics, genomics, biotechnology and bioinformatics.
• To sequence the full genomes of larch, pine and cedar in cooperation with US and Russian genomic and bioinformatics centers, as well as institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) with the view to identify genes associated with timber quality, growth rate, adaptation to injurious organisms, diseases and unfavourable environmental conditions (by comparing the newly identified nucleotide sequences with those of well-studied genes of other organisms), as well as to design molecular-genetic markers to be used to:
а) monitor genetic variability in conifer populations using highly variable markers;
b) identify timber origins (using population-specific markers);
c) perform genomic selection for high timber quality, growth rate, biomass buildup rate, resistance to injurious organisms and diseases, and other important selection properties.
• To sequence the fell genomes of highly and mildly pathogenic fungi (first and foremost, Heterobasidion annosum s. l., Armillaria mellea s. l., Phellinus sulphurascens Pilat.) in cooperation with the Forest Institute of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences with the view to:
а) identify genes causing pathogenic variability using comparative genomic analysis of highly and mildly pathogenic strains;
b) design molecular-genetic markers that make it possible to distinguish between highly and mildly pathogenic taxons of fungi and perform thereby genetic monitoring of pathogenicity in populations;
c) research the population and genetic structure of these phytopathogenic fungi and their interactions with the host organism and among each other;
d) identify hypovirulent strains of pathogenic fungi to enhance their competitiveness within their ecological niche (competitive biological control).
The project's long-term objectives also include the following:
1) Researching the genomes of the most important arboreal species of boreal forests, such as a number of cedar pines (European, Korean, Japanese stone pine), larch, spruce, and fir;
2) Integrating genomic data on larch with genomic data on other conifers using available databases and portals, such as, for example, ConiferGDB (www.conifergdb.org) and Dendrome/TreeGenes (dendrome.ucdavis.edu/DiversiTree);
3) Creating a modern genomic research shared knowledge center based on the Genomic Research and Education Center of the Siberian Federal University;
4) Training DNA sequencing and bioinformatics specialists;
5) Designing new DNA sequencing technologies;
6) Expanding and strengthening international cooperation, participating in international genomic projects.

8. Anticipated outcomes (for Phase IV)
The implementation of the project "Genomic research of the primary boreal forest-forming conifers and their most dangerous pathogens in the Russian Federation" will make it possible to:
1) Establish a world-class forest genomics research laboratory capable of performing fundamental research in genomics and bioinformatics of various organisms, as well as applied innovative research in creation of biological substances for sanitary treatment of forests;
2) Augment the computing capacity of the Siberian Federal University's supercomputer center thereby enabling researchers from the SFU and other scientific institutions of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences to effectively handle tasks that require processing large amounts of data;
3) Develop new training courses and launch a new Master's degree program of study, "Genomics and Bioinformatics";
4) Train highly skilled specialists in the field of genomic technologies, bioinformatics, and biological data processing from among young researchers;
5) Design molecular-genetic methods of identification of timber origins, as well as methods of exercising effective control over the phytosanitary condition of forests, and to integrate these methods into the forest industry;
6) Obtain the genomes of the most important arboreal species of boreal forests thereby laying down the foundation for the development of genomic selection methods.

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