The history of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics begins in 1939, when it was called the Department of Darwinism and Genetics. In connection with the opening of a specialization in molecular biology in 1987, the Department of Darwinism and Genetics was renamed the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, and in 2011 - into the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. Heads of the department were: Candidate of Biological Science, Associate Professor P.I. Mitrofanov (1939-1941), Doctor of Biological Sciences, corresponding member of Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR K.M. Mynbaev (1948), Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, Professor, Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR G.Z. Biyashev (1948-1957, 1961-1965), Candidate of Biological Sciences, associate professor O.T. Tazhin (1970-1977), Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor, Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan R.I. Bersimbayev (1977-2002), Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor K.K. Shulembayeva (2002-2005), Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor Z.G. Aytasheva (2005-2019), Candidate of Biological Sciences Zh.K. Zhunusbayeva (2019-present).
The main scientific direction of the department since its inception has been the development of theoretical foundations for increasing productivity and improving the quality of agricultural plants. Due to the close relationship with the agricultural production of the teaching staff of the Department, new varieties have been created, such as “Kazakhstanskaya semi-hybrid 24” sugar beets, “Kazakhstanskaya 126”, “Kazakhstanskaya 4”, “Erythrospermum 74”, “Kazakhstanskaya 3”, “Bezostaya 1”, “Mironovskaya 808”, “Bogarnaya 56”, “Miras”, “Nadezhda” wheats, “Zailiysky” barley. All varieties are zoned and put into production.
Since 1977, the Department’s research has also been developing in the direction of molecular genetic mechanisms of regulation of gene activity. The work carried out in this direction is aimed at studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression under the influence of genetic inducers, problems of genome instability and molecular genetic mechanisms of intracellular signaling.
Currently, the following scientific schools/areas operate at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics: Genetics, breeding and chromosome engineering of cereal crops; Genetics and breeding of vegetables; Drosophila Genetics; Ecological Genetics; Genotoxicology; Molecular Genetics; and Medical Genetics.