HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.
September 16-18, 2024 | Rome, Italy
GPMB 2022

Marcin Michalak

Marcin Michalak, Speaker at Plant Events
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Title : DNA Methylation as an Early Indicator of Aging in Stored Seeds


Ex-situ preservation of genetic resources is an essential strategy for the conservation of plant biodiversity. In this regard, seed storage is the most convenient and efficient way of preserving germplasm for future plant breeding efforts. A better understanding of the molecular changes that occur during seed desiccation and aging is necessary to improve conservation protocols and real-time methods for monitoring seed quality. Epigenetic regulation plays an important role in the management of plant growth, development, and response to stress factors. Several reports have indicated that DNA methylation plays a critical role in seed development and viability. This study examines changes in 5-methylcytosine (5mC) levels in the DNA of seeds during aging, a process that has important implications for plant conservation and agriculture. The changes in the level of genomic 5-methylcytosine (5mC) in seeds of Populus nigra L. by 2D-TLC were assessed. P. nigra is a riparian forest species. The riparian forest species are a key priority in biodiversity conservation and climate change strategies. Therefore, there is an interest in protecting and preserving P. nigra germplasm as it is a pioneer species and a key component of softwood forests in Europe. In our study, we demonstrate for the first time that 5mC levels decrease during storage and that the decline can be detected before any changes in seed germination are evident. Once P. nigra seeds reached an 8-10% reduction in the level of 5mC, a substantial decrease in germination occurred. The decline in the level of 5mC appears to be a critical parameter underlying the rapid deterioration of intermediate seeds. Thus, the measurement of 5mC can be a fast, real-time method for assessing asymptomatic aging in stored seeds.


Dr. Marcin Michalak studied Biology at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, and graduated in 2006. After, he joined the research group of Prof. Pawel Chmielarz at the Institute of Dendrology, the Polish Academy of Sciences (ID-PAS). He received his PhD degree in 2012. He completed three postdoctoral fellowships, two of them at the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, CO, US, and the third at the Millennium Seed Bank, UK. He obtained the position of Associate Professor at the University of Warmia and Mazury, Poland in 2019. Until now he has published more than 30 research articles indexed in SCI(E) journals and cited more than 300 times.