The institue focuses on the problem of the diagnosis of opportunistic pathogens at the molecular level. The research focuses on the direct detection of Toxoplasma gondii, Encephalitozoon spp., Cryptosporidium spp. and Blastocystis hominis in samples of infected animals, including humans, as well as in environmental samples. The aim is to map the occurrence of individual genotypes of these opportunistic pathogens in susceptible animals in Slovakia, as well as to study their molecular-biological properties and their zoonotic potential. The institute is also focused on the monitoring of harmful effects of ionizing radiation on the living organism at the metabolic level using model organisms.
Research activity of Institute of Genetics is focused mainly on assessment of potential genotoxic effects of agrochemicals (pesticides) in cultured peripheral lymphocytes of farm animals. The evaluation of chemical substances genotoxicity is performed on the level of chromosomes and DNA. For this purpose, the Institute uses methods of chromosomal analysis, micronuclei detection and analysis of sister chromatid exchanges. In addition, fluorescence in situ hybridisation with bovine whole chromosome painting (WCP) probes is used to detect stabile chromosomal aberrations. DNA damage is studied by means of alkaline and neutral comet assays, DNA fragmentation and detection of phosphorylated histone gH2AX. The further research aim is examination of gene expression changes in the enzymes of phase II xenobiotic metabolism (glutathione S-transferases) and bovine acetylcholinesterase gene. Attention is also paid to effects of pesticides on the acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase enzyme activities. Institute of Genetics also deals with molecular-genetics possibilities of detection and prevention of hereditary diseases in companion animals, including disorders of sexual development (DSD) in dogs. As regards canine cancer (lymphomas), the research is concentrated on the detection of mutations in selected proto-oncogene and examination of expression of some canine genes.