Jaroslava Ovesna

Leading Speaker for plant biology conference-Jaroslava Ovesna

Title: Development And Application Of DNA And Metabolic Markers For Characterisation And Selection Of Garlic Cultivars

Jaroslava Ovesna

Crop Research institute, Czech Republic


Dr. Jaroslava Ovesna Professional activities: Crop Research Institute in Prague since 1984. Experiences in plant tissue cultures, plant transformation, marker development and assisted selection, DNA fingerprinting, gene expression studies.  Current position: Head of the division of Plant Genetics and Breeding.  Project leader, supervisor of bachelor's, master's and doctoral theses, lecturer of professional seminars (GMOs, plant breeding).  Research Director of national and international scientific projects.  Author of more than 120 scientific publications author of applied results. National representative in various management bodies and working groups of DG JRC EC.  Award of the Czech Minister of Agriculture (2012), Award of CRI Director (2014, 2016). 


Vegetables constitute a substantial part of human diet. Consumers require high quality, fresh products, full of health promoting compounds. Among various vegetable species garlic (Allium sativum L.) is considered not only culinary, but also medical species rich in secondary metabolites, Both flavor and biological activity are determined mainly by organo-sulfur compounds, S-alk(en)yl-L-cysteine sulphoxides (ACSO). A wide range of factors may have an impact on content of these compounds in the garlic tissue, such as the genetic background of the respective cultivars, growing and storage conditions.

Garlic is a vegetatively propagated diploid species with extremely large genome, that lost the ability to flower. Only recently a very few genotypes have been found to be able to produced true seed to some extend. That is why selection of clones from available genetic resources and off types from currently registered cultivars is used. . 

Carefull characterization of available genetic resources and cultivars using moleculat and metabolic markers is essential for selection of desirable genotypes and protect the breeders right. DNA fingeprints of almost 150 cultivars and genetic resources identified them and divided them in principle according their origin. We shown that garlics that associated according to their genetic background as identified by DNA fingerprinting grouped similarily according the production of health promoting compounds. Molecular markers associated with ASCO content were identified and transcription of genes associated with ASCO biosynthesis was investigated, characterized along with their transcription activities in different developmental phases.

Bolting cultivars are desirable in the Czech Republic by local consumers while in Spain or France non bolting cultivars are produced which usually are more stable during postharvest period.  Non target metabolomic profilling (DART-Orbitrap analysis) and target analysis (LC-MS/MS)  revealed the differeces among marketed products  of different origin.

Production of health promoting compounds was shown to depend upon the environment, including temperature, precipitation and sulphur content in soil. Especially ASCO content was negatively affected by low sulfur supply. The ratio of health promoting substances in different cultivars tends to be constant accross environments.

We identified local genotypes that have been used for development of new cultivars that fulfill requirement of farmers and consumers. We uncovered also clonal micro-variability within cultivars and these off-types are used for further breeding.

We suggest that careful characterization of available genetic resources, breeding lines and cultivars along with markers assisted selection may help to select the best garlic genotypes suited for farmers and consumers requirements.

      Acknowledgement: The work was supported by the project of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic NAZV-QJ1210158 and RO0414.