The Biological Mission of Galicia


The Misión Biológica de Galicia (MBG) belongs to Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), assigned to the area of Agricultural Sciences. It is located in the province of Pontevedra, in the Galician autonomous region. Research at the MBG is focused in the main crops in Galicia (brassica crops, legumes, maize, vineyards, and diverse forestry crops) specifically in conservation and characterization of plant genetic resources; plant genetics and breeding for resistance to stresses and biochemical characteristics related to nutritional quality and plant defense.

Twelve researchers with permanent positions and three postdocs constitute the research staff. Technicians, personnel with administrative roles, PhD students and field workers sum approximately 60 more employs. The experimental fields compass twelve hectares and there are numerous laboratories distributed in three different buildings as well as diverse storehouses. The farm belongs to the Provincial Council of Pontevedra but is administered by the MBG since 1928 thanks to a deal between both institutions.

Funds for most salaries and maintenance of buildings and equipment come from the Spanish government budget, while funds for research come from competitive grants.


General Objective

The general line of research of the MBG is the study of genetic, transcriptomic, metabolomic and / or ecological processes that are relevant for enhancing efficiency and sustainability of agriculture and forestry. We focus on various horticultural and woody species to generate basic knowledge about the mechanisms involved in crop defense against stresses, productivity and nutritional quality and safety. An integral approach is used instead of studying separately each aspect in order to develop varieties, methods and optimized procedures that allow a sustainable use of biological resources and simultaneous improvement of organoleptic, nutritional and food safety characteristics.

The studies can be classified into 7 specific lines of research:

  1. Genetic and metabolic processes involved in the adaptation and evolution of crops.
  2. Mechanisms of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
  3. Biochemical pathways and processes that affect the quality of crops.
  4. Relationships between genotype and phenotype for certain metabolic, morphological, physiological and agronomic characteristics of interest.
  5. Alternative uses to increase the added value of crops according to economic and environmental aspects.
  6. Conservation and characterization of crop biodiversity to select the optimal genetic materials for developing new varieties envisioned to be cultivated under socially, economically and environmentally sustainable agro-forestry systems.
  7. Transference of results to private companies in the agro-forestry and agro-food sectors.
Mission: Improvement of arable and woody crops in terms of efficiency, quality and stress resistance, in a comprehensive way that promotes a sustainable use of biological, environmental and territory’s resources.
Main Objectives
Genetic improvement and cultivars selection
Efficiency improvement; adaptation; organoleptic, nutritional and industrial qualities.

Tolerance to biotic stresses…
(pests and diseases)
and abiotic
(drought, cold & fire)

Added value
Impact on healthy eating and supplementary uses (bioenergy)

Biodiversity, ecology and phytogenetic resources
Conceptual and experimental approaches
Genetic and quantitative approach

Plant-organism relationship

Plant defenses

Metabolomics and secondary metabolites

Molecular approaches
(molecular biology and genetics)

Ecological systemic and systems biology approaches
Standard species

(cabbages, turning tops, leaf rape …)


Olive tree

(pea, bean)

Trees & forests
(pines, oaks …)