Molecular systematics laboratory

The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid's Molecular Systematics Laboratory (LSM in its Spanish initials) was set up in 1997 in order to incorporate new molecular techniques into the RJB's research into plants and fungi.  The laboratory's success is plain to see from the almost one hundred papers published in SCI journals between 1999 and 2008, the incorporation of more than 30 researchers and research fellows and 8 research groups at the centre, two successive extensions, and the facility's updating with new techniques such as quantitative PCR and gene expression techniques.

The LSM's equipment includes 2 autoclaves, 2 water purification systems (miliQ and miliRO), 2 flow cameras, a gas extraction hood, 2 spectrophotometers, 3 stoves, 5 incubators, 4 refrigerators, 3 freezers, 4 deep freezers, 8 thermal cyclers, 6 micro-centrifuges, one plate centrifuge, a vacuum centrifuge, 5 vortex centrifuges, 5 electrophoresis sources, a Polaroid camera, a digital camera, 4 transilluminators, a freeze drier, a liquid nitrogen tank, a microwave, 2 water baths, a thermoblock, and other small items of equipment (weighing scales, pH-meters, etc.)..

The molecular biology techniques performed at the laboratory include: DNA extraction from plants, fungi and bacteria; nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA amplification using PCR; purification of amplified products; gene cloning; bacterial and fungal cultures; genetic fingerprinting techniques (RFLP, AFLP, microsatellites) and quantitative PCR. These techniques have enabled the molecular data and results published in the papers mentioned above to be obtained. A support technician needs to be recruited for the LSM in order to be able to continue increasing or at least maintaining current scientific activity.

The interest from business in using the LSM's infrastructure is evident from the wide range of lines of research carried out, ranging from those of direct applied interest, such as the molecular identification of pathogenic fungi or of nutritional interest, to those with a more basic orientation, such as inferring evolutionary relationships in a diverse range of groups of plants and fungi. This latter type of study, mainly oriented towards basic knowledge, nevertheless this has clear applications in many cases when dealing with endemic, rare or threatened organisms, where it is essential to understand their genetic variability and relationships with cogeners if we are to consider measures to achieve their conservation.

The LSM hosts outside users from other R&D centres (Estación Biológica de Doñana, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, the CSIC's Instituto Botánico de Barcelona) and universities (Univ. of  Santiago Compostela, Univ. Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid Autonomous University, Madrid Complutense University, Univ. of  Barcelona, Univ. of Valencia, Univ. of  Seville, Univ. Pablo Olavide, Madrid Polytechnic University, Univ. of Salamanca, Univ. of Murcia and Univ. of Saragossa), through collaborations with RJB users on research projects.

The interest from outside the RJB in using our facilities is also clearly seen in programmes such as  SYNTHESYS ((Synthesis of Systematic Resources), an integrated infrastructure initiative funded by the European Union. To date, within the  SYNTHESYS, programme, 33 users from other European countries have carried out research work at the LSM. In fact, before its involvement in  SYNTHESYS, the LSM was also used by European researchers in the BIODIBERIA programme, as a large European facility in the Fifth Framework Programme along with the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Spain's National Natural History Museum). This internal and external activity makes the LSM's infrastructure a benchmark for both Spanish and international researchers.

Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC. Plaza de Murillo, 2. Madrid E-28014 (ESPAÑA). Tel. +34 91 4203017. FAX: +34 91 4200157
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