The working group came into being as a part of the Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University. Its research is directed toward the analysis of genome size and organization, viewed as an adaptive marker of evolution, ecology, and the geographical distribution of plants. This analysis is undertaken at three structural levels:
- Number and morphological characteristics of chromosomes
- Relative and absolute amount of nuclear DNA, AT/GC genomic ratio
- Sequences, primarily of noncoding segments of chloroplast and nuclear DNA, retrotrasposon diversity and amount
Model taxa groups include genera Eleocharis, Carex, Festuca, Poa, Achillea, Hieracium, Cirsium and Senecio; that are, groups for which polyploidy is common (Festuca, Poa, Hieracium), with variable types of reproduction (Hieracium), with different types of chromosome structure (monocentric and holocentric) and with common interspecific hybridization (Cirsium, Hieracium, Polypodium). Studies of polyploidization, interspecific hybridization, and intraspecific and interspecific variablity in genome size are undertaken at the populational, regional (Czech Republic, Central Europe) and global level (entire plant ranges, Eurasia, North America).
The primary methods applied are comparison of noncoding sequences of chloroplast and nuclear DNA and the study of variability in nuclear DNA content through flow cytometry and classical cytological methods (counting of metaphase chromosomes).
To date, the working group has constructed the , the and the . The group has also gathered and cultivated a collection of model taxa population samples, which are representative either for the Czech Republic or for all of Europe.