Genetika About us

About us

State Research Institute of Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms («Genetika») is a recognized leader in biotechnology research in Russia. Genetika is one of the recognized leaders in the development of fundamentals in genetics of industrial microorganisms. Our works in the field of genetics of actinomycetes, bacilli, methylotrophic bacteria and yeasts are well known by specialists all over the world. Since its inception in 1968, Genetika has been on the forefront of microbiological research and development, with the strong focus towards creating industrial applications. Technologies developed at Genetika, have been successfully implemented in a wide variety of biotechnology-based industrial processes, first in Soviet Union, and later in Russia and other countries, in cooperation with leading multinational manufacturers. These applications included production of amino acids, nucleotides, vitamins, antibiotics, recombinant proteins and enzymes, organic acids and solvents, biocatalysts, biological pesticides, and other types of compounds.

More recently, in addition to the industrial biotechnology applications, Genetika has expanded its research and development into biopharmaceuticals, due to the targeted governmental and private financing programs aimed at supporting and expanding the emerging pharmaceutical industry in Russia.

Education and teaching has always been an important part of the Institute’s activities over the years. Hundreds of graduate students and postdocs have started their scientific careers at Genetika, and many new join the Institute’s research programs every year.

Genetika is the home of Russian National Collection of Industrial Microorganisms (VKPM) – the biggest collection of this type in the country. It boasts ca. 17000 strains of different bacterial, yeast and fungal species. VKPM is conducting a number of research and contract-based projects on isolation of strains with new industrially valuable properties, identification and cloning of specific genes, developing microbial overproducers using selection and genetic engineering approaches.

Currently, there are more than 100 Ph.D. scientists working at the Institute, with the total number of scientific, support and administrative personnel reaching 250. The research activities of the Institute are distributed within sixteen laboratories and supported by the Analytical Core Facility. Genetika is also hosting the Editorial Committee of the leading Russian language “Biotechnology” journal.

Genetika financing comes from various sources, both Russian and international, including governmental grants and contracts for innovative biotechnological projects, royalties from commercialized industrial processes, and contract and service work.

Broadly, major areas of expertise at Genetika include:

• Genetics and physiology of industrial microorganisms
• Design of industrial strains by evolution and metabolic engineering
• Industrial bio-catalysis
• Microbial synthesis of cell metabolites from renewable feedstock
• Recombinant protein expression in bacteria
• Fermentation at laboratory and pilot scale
• Protein purification and functional assays
• Genomics and bioinformatics

Large scale industrial applications developed at Genetika and successfully commercialized on Russian and
international markets with the help of collaborators: 

• Cell metabolites:
— Threonine: majority of world manufacturing (80 thousand tons/year) has been based on strains developed at Genetika;
Ribofllavin (vitamin B2): produced on two plants – one in Russia and one in China;
 Carotinoids (asthaxantine, beta-carotine, lycopene): used in food, feed and pharmaceutical industries, as an antioxidant and food dyes. Licenses and “know-how” were sold to various companies in Italy, China, Netherlands. 

• Enzymes:
Alpha-amylase and glucoamylase;

• Recombinant proteins:
Interferon -2 (first recombinant drug in Russia);
Interleukin IL-1(first IL-1 substance in the world);
Interferon for veterinary purposes.

• Biocatalysis:
Acrylamide: Genetika has created the most efficient technology for production of bio-acrylamide. The acrylic monomers are the starting materials for production of various water-soluble polymers for use as flocculants (water purification, sludge treatment) and reagents for oil recovery;
Chromogenic peptide substrates: obtained by enzymatic synthesis, used in clinic to diagnose blood diseases.

Technologies already developed, or approaching the final stages of development, and available for transfer:

• L-Lactic acid - production with help of immobilized cells;
• Phytase with high activity;
• Xylonases;
• Lipases;
• Amidases;
• Bacterial endotoxin-based compounds for controlling plant diseases, Colorado beetles, blur algae etc.;
• Various biopharmarceuticals – recombinant proteins, vaccines, targeted drug delivery proteins;
• Antibiotics;
• New Biomaterial on the basis of spider silk proteins, with remarkable physical properties, with potential applications in medicine and industry;
• Genotyping biochips for screening of hereditary diseases, forensic and family investigations;
• Lux-Biosensors: E.Coli cells producing strong bioluminescent signal in response to various chemicals – toxicology applications;
• Bacteriophage: Very active phage lysozyme for lysis of bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa;
• Bio-butanol;
• Animal cell culture, production of monoclonal antibodies.

Areas of basic research currently underway at Genetika:

• Genetics and physiology of industrial microorganisms (systems of genetic exchange, vectors for homologous and heterologous expression, identification of new genes, metabolism regulation etc.);
• Mechanisms of transcription and translation (riboswitch, sensor RNA, siRNA, protein folding, chaperons);
• Protein structure and function (enzymes, chaperons, endotoxins);
• Genomics;
• Bioinformatics;
• Bacteriophages;
• Biodiversity and screening of microorganisms;
• Design of industrial strains by evolution and metabolic engineering;
• Bio-catalysis;
• Microbial synthesis of cell metabolites and proteins.