The Laboratory of Biosystematics and Cytology counts its history from August 1, 1955.
The head of the newly formed department of the Komarov Botanical Institute (named first the Laboratory of Cytology) was well-known cytogeneticist professor, Mikhail S. Navashin. From the very beginning the Laboratory became the school and coordinating center for all the plant cytologists and plant caryotaxonomists of the Soviet Union. The intensive plant chromosome studies and work on counting chromosome numbers resulted in the most complete review on all the published chromosome numbers of the flowering plants that was created under the initiative of M.S. Navashin. It was published in 1969 and became widely known all over the world (“Chromosome Numbers of Flowering Plants”. Leningrad: Nauka, 1969). After M.S. Navashin moved to Moscow in April 1969, Dr.
Valery G. Grif became the head of the Laboratory.
In 1965 the working group of Population Genetics was organized in the Botanical Institute in accordance with the resolution of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR on expanding of genetic research. It was headed by Prof. Armen L. Takhtajan, at that time the corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences. Nikolay V. Timofeeff-Ressovsky was appointed the co-supervisor of the group in its first years. In 1966 Dr. Natalia D. Agapova becomes the head of the group. The aim of the group was the profound investigation (including morphology, karyology, biochemistry, palinology, etc.) of flowering plants on both infraspecific and infrapopulational levels alongside with the study of microevolutional processes. In 1975 the group also started research in the field of comparative plant immunology.
In 1978 the Laboratories of Cytology and Population Genetics were joined and the Laboratory of Biosystematics and Cytology.
Today the main direction of the Laboratory is the study of plant chromosome evolution and molecular phylogenetic studies. Dr. Alexander V. Rodionov become the header of the laboratory in 2002.
In 1992 and 1999 the members of the laboratory organized and held III and IV plant caryology and caryosystematics workshops. The V workshop will be organized October 2005 in St. Petersburg.