The mission of the laboratory, established in September 2000, is to provide accurate and timely estimates of genome size (both in absolute units and in relative terms as an indication of ploidy level) to meet demands of different research groups. The data obtained are widely used in plant population and evolutionary biology, ecology, and biosystematics to address questions of phenotypic manifestation, spatial distribution, and evolutionary significance of genome duplication (polyploidy) and chromosomal variation (aneuploidy). The high speed and reliability of flow cytometry paves the way for large-scale surveys at the landscape, population, individual, and tissue levels. Combination with other, namely molecular, techniques is emphasized as it promises qualitative advances in our understanding of genome multiplication in the population biology of vascular plants.
The laboratory is equipped with two Partec PA II instruments (with argon-ion 488-nm laser and mercury arc lamp) and one Partec CyFlow Space instrument (equipped with UV-chip) used mainly for ploidy level estimation, and Partec CyFlow SL and Partec CyFlow Space instruments (both equipped with solid state 532-nm laser) used mainly to determine nuclear genome size.