Institute of Plant Genetics
Polish Academy of Sciences

Legume Genomics


Legume Genomics Team


dr hab. Magdalena Kroc


prof. dr hab. Wojciech Święcicki, Ordinary Member PAS

dr hab. Karolina Susek

dr Magdalena Gawłowska

dr Umesh Tanwar

mgr Katarzyna Czepiel (PhD student)

mgr Pankaj Kumar (PhD student)

mgr Humaira Jamil (PhD student)

mgr inż. Magdalena Tomaszewska 


From left to right: U. Tanwar, P. Kumar, W. Święcicki, K. Czepiel, H. Jamil, M. Tomaszewska, M. Gawłowska, M. Kroc

Research profile

Our research is focused on legume genomics, with special interest in agronomic traits, domestication and genome evolution. In particular, we are interested in:

·    characterization and management of the lupins (Lupinus L.) genetic resources. As part of this activity, we develop Intelligent Collections for L. albus and L. mutabilis, as single seed descent lines, derived from over 3000 accessions retrieved from global gene banks. Their comprehensive phenotypic and molecular characterization will increase the effectiveness of genetic resources conservation and their use in pre-breeding programs;

·    understanding the molecular background of lupin alkaloids biosynthesis and accumulation. Candidate genes revealed based on transcriptomic data are subjected to further expression and functional studies;

·    identification of gene regulatory networks that underlie seed-size variations in legumes - lupin and common bean.

·    validation of the involvement of candidate genes in the oligosaccharides synthesis pathway in pea (Pisum sativum.L.);

·    investigation of the expression profiles of genes activated during plant response to ascochyta blight infection in pea.


·         gene expression analysis (qPCR)

·         molecular phenotyping methods (transciptomics and metabolomics)

·         transcription factor binding site discovery assay

·         genetic mapping and molecular markers development

·         quantitative traits mapping

·         CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique, pea transformation via Agrobacterium, transformants regeneration

·         morphological phenotyping

·         statistical methods used in lupin genetic resources diversity assessment

Our main achievements are:

·         characterization of L. albus and L. mutabilis genetic resources,

·         development of L. albus and L. mutabilis SSD lines within Intelligent core collections,

·         identification of APETALA2/ethylene response transcription factor, RAP2-7, as a candidate for a master regulator of quinolizidine alkaloids biosynthesis in narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.).


Key words

legumes, lupin, pea, genomics, expression profiles, genetic mapping, genome evolution, seeds, genetic resources


Selected recent publications (See all in SCOPUS)

Czepiel K., Kroc M., Burdzińska A., Krajewski P., Barzyk P., Święcicki W. (2023) Evaluation of alkaloids in yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus L.): New insight to genetic resources diversity and future breeding perspectives. Scientia Horticulturae 321, 112279. DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2023.112279.

Mancinotti D., Czepiel K., Taylor J.L., Golshadi Galehshahi H., Møller LA, Jensen M.K., Motawia M.S., Hufnagel B., Soriano A., Yeheyis L., Kjaerulff L., Péret B., Staerk D., Wendt T., Nelson M.N., Kroc M., Geu-Flores F. (2023) The causal mutation leading to sweetness in modern white lupin cultivars. Science Advances 9(31), eadg8866. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adg8866.

Bulut M., Wendenburg R., Bitocchi E., Bellucci E., Kroc M., Gioia T., Susek K., Papa R., Fernie A.R. and Alseekh S. (2023) A comprehensive metabolomics and lipidomics atlas for the legumes common bean, chickpea, lentil and lupin. Plant Journal, 2023. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.16329.

Nartea, A., Kuhalskaya, A., Fanesi, B., Orhotohwo, O. L., Susek, K., Rocchetti, L., Di Vittori, V., Bitocchi, E., Pacetti, D., Papa, R. (2023) Legume byproducts as ingredients for food applications: Preparation, nutrition, bioactivity, and techno-functional properties. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 22, 1953–1985. DOI: 10.1111/1541-4337.13137.

Rocchetti, L., Gioia, T., Logozzo, G., Brezeanu, C., Pereira, L. G., la Rosa, L. D., Marzario, S., Pieri, A., Fernie, A. R., Alseekh, S., Susek, K., Cook, D. R., Varshney, R. K., Agrawal, S. K., Hamwieh, A., Bitocchi, E., Papa, R. (2022) Towards the development, maintenance and standardized phenotypic characterization of single-seed-descent genetic resources for chickpea. Current Protocols, 2, e371. DOI: 10.1002/cpz1.371.

Gawłowska, M.; Lahuta, L.; Boros, L.; Sawikowska, A.; Kumar, P.; Knopkiewicz, M.; Kaczmarek, Z.; Święcicki, W. (2022) Validation of Molecular Markers Significant for Flowering Time, Plant Lodging, Stem Geometry Properties, and Raffinose Family Oligosaccharides in Pea (Pisum sativum L.). Agriculture, 12, 1125. DOI: 10.3390/agriculture12081125.

Kroc M., Tomaszewska M., Czepiel K., Bitocchi E., Oppermann M., Neumann K., Guasch L., Bellucci E., Alseekh S., Graner A., Fernie A.R., Papa R., Susek K. (2021) Towards development, maintenance, and standardized phenotypic characterization of single-seed-descent genetic resources for lupins. Current Protocols 1(7), e191. DOI: 10.1002/cpz1.191.

Hufnagel B., Soriano A., Taylor J., Divol F., Kroc M., Sanders H., Yeheyis L., Nelson M., Péret B. (2021) Pangenome of white lupin provides insights into the diversity of the species. Plant Biotechnology Journal 19(12):2532-2543. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.13678.

Bellucci E., Aguilar O.M., Alseekh S., Bett K., Brezeanu C., Cook D., de la Rosa L., Delledonne M., Dostatny D.F., Ferreira J.J., Geffroy V., Ghitarrini S., Kroc M., Agrawal S.K., Logozzo G., Marino M., Mary-Huard T., McClean P., Meglic V., Messer T., Muel F., Nanni L., Neumann K., Servalli F., Strajeru S., Varshney R.K., Vasconcelos M.W., Zaccardelli M., Zavarzin A., Bitocchi E., Frontoni E., Fernie A.R., Gioia T., Graner A., Guasch L., Prochnow L., Oppermann M., Susek K., Tenaillon M., Papa R. (2021) The INCREASE project: Intelligent Collections of food-legume genetic resources for European agrofood systems. The Plant Journal 108(3): 646-660. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.15472.

Czepiel K., Krajewski P., Wilczura P., Bielecka P., Swiecicki W., Kroc M. (2021) Expression profiles of alkaloid-related genes across the organs of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.) and in response to anthracnose infection. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(5): 2676. DOI: 10.3390/ijms22052676.

Kroc M., Koczyk G., Kamel K.A., Czepiel K., Fedorowicz-Strońska O., Krajewski P., Kosińska J., Podkowiński J., Wilczura P., Święcicki W. (2019) Transcriptome-derived investigation of biosynthesis of quinolizidine alkaloids in narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.) highlights candidate genes linked to iucundus locus. Scientific Reports 9(1):2231. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-37701-5.

Kroc M., Czepiel K., Wilczura P., Mokrzycka M., Święcicki W. (2019) Development and validation of a gene-targeted dCAPS marker for marker-assisted selection of low-alkaloid content in seeds of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.). Genes 10(6): 428. DOI: 10.3390/genes10060428.


Projects (finished recently or current)


National Science Center

Type Project number (link to NCN) Project title in Polish Project title in English Project leader / partners Financing (PLN) Start date End date
OPUS 18 2019/35/B/NZ8/04283 Architektura genetyczna nasion: ewolucyjne podejście do identyfikacji molekularnych podstaw zmienności fenotypowej u roślin strączkowych (łubinu białego i fasoli zwyczajnej) Genetic architecture of plant seeds: an evolutionary approach to identify the
molecular basis of phenotypic variation in legumes (white lupin and common
Karolina Susek 1 988 520 20-07-2020 19-07-2024
HARMONIA 7 2015/18/M/NZ2/00422 Mechanizmy leżące u podstaw ewolucji genomów roślinnych, dywersyfikacji i specjacji Mechanism(s) underlying plant genome evolution, diversification and speciation. Karolina Susek 971 088 13-05-2016 12-05-2022
MINIATURA 3 2019/03/X/NZ1/02009 Badania pilotażowe nowego mechanizmu regulacji niskiej zawartości alkaloidów w nasionach łubinu wąskolistnego, poprzez powiązanie poziomu ekspresji genów szlaku biosyntezy alkaloidów z akumulacją tych związków w poszczególnych organach rośliny   Magdalena Kroc - 21-12-2019 09-06-2021

Other projects

EU Horizon 2020, INCREASE

“Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems”, lupin crop leaders: Karolina Susek, Magdalena Kroc (IPG PAS)/ coordinator: Roberto Papa (UNVPM, Italy), 2020 - 2026.


“Boosting innovation in breeding for the next generation of legume crops for Europe”, leader: Karolina Susek / coordinator: Lars-Gernot Otto (IPK, Germany), 2023 – 2028.

Short description:

Investment in innovation that boosts the breeding of legumes in Europe by combining the entrepreneurial focus of breeders with the broad inventiveness of the supporting research base. Six species-oriented breeder-led innovation communities will link practical breeding with the research-base in a transdisciplinary framework. They lead the innovation work and each is focused on the breeding of a single species or species type: soya bean (Glycine max); lupins (Lupinus spp); pea (Pisum sativum); lentil (Lens culinaris); phaseolus bean (Phaseolus spp. e.g. ‘common’ bean); and white and red clover (Trifolium repens and T. pratense).

MRiRW 2022-2026 Task19

"Alkaloids in narrow-leafed lupin: understanding the molecular background of their biosynthesis and accumulation as well as searching for the forms with high alkaloid content in green organs and low content in seeds."

Cost Action EPI-CATCH CA19125

EPIgenetic mechanisms of Crop Adaptation To Climate cHange.
Coordinator: F. Martinelli (University of Florence, Włochy)
Management Committee, Poland: K. Susek, M. Kroc
Type: COST Action (The European Cooperation in Science and Technology)
Duration: 17 September 2020 - 16 September 2024

NAWA, India-Poland Inter-Governmental Science & Technology Cooperation Programme For Joint Research Project
Development of CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing in pea (Pisum sativum L.) for characterization of oligosaccharide pathway genes.
Coordinator on the Polish site: Gawłowska M.
Duration: 1 January 2021-31 December 2022


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