Special Issues


Special Issue: Palaeontology of Siberia and Arctic

Recent decades have witnessed a significant burst of studies in the field of paleontology, as a result of which fossils now play an increasingly profound role in the development of XXI-century evolutionary biology. This special issue of Biological Communications is devoted to the fossil record of a vast geographical area in the heart of Asian continent, which remains poorly studied despite the significant, and sometimes crucial, meaning it carries for the understanding of the past history of many groups of organisms.

Section Editors: Dr. Pavel P. Skutschas, Dr. Nikita V. Zelenkov

Deadline for manuscript submissions: September 1, 2023

Special Issue Information

Palaeontology provides clues to the evolution of life on Earth, demonstrating evolutionary history trajectories of particular groups of organisms and showing mosaics of forms and functions which existed among the forever demised diversity of species. Fossils spectacularly improve resolution of phylogenetic trees, provide polarities for morphological and physiological traits, and further constitute calibration points used for divergence dating in evolutionary studies. Vast continental masses are believed to have played a significant role in the evolution of many groups of animals and plants, as they are able to support very large effective population size required for the origin of adaptations, survival and competing potential of species. Arrays of environmental conditions, which are often present on large continents, promote adaptive radiations leading to the formation of diversified and taxonomically important taxa, often surviving to the present.

The Asian continent has already been shown to be an arena of adaptive evolution of many plant and animal groups in the past, as exemplified by the early Cretaceous Jehol biota in China, among others. However, an incredibly vast geographical area of Siberia, Central Asia and surrounding territories remain significantly less studied, as compared not only with other parts of Asia, but also with other continents.

This issue of Biological Communications presents a collection of peer-reviewed scientific papers addressing a broad taxonomical diversity of fossil organisms from this biogeographically important area. New and revised finds of fossil animals and plants reveal details of the past history of modern ecosystems of Siberia and Central Asia, spanning from arid sandy to arctic deserts, and from the highest mountains to endless taiga forests.

The coverage of this issue includes but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Taxonomy and systematics of fossil Siberian and Central Asian animals and plants;
  • Evolutionary and functional morphology of fossil Siberian and Central Asian animals and plants;
  • Fossil faunas and floras of Siberia, Central Asia and Mongolia and their temporal evolution;
  • Paleobiogeography of Siberia, Central Asia and Mongolia;
  • History of paleontological studies in Siberia, Central Asia and Mongolia.



Biological Communications Vol. 66 No. 1 (2021)

Special Issue: Symbiogenetics: molecular models, evolutionary strategies and applied aspects

Symbiogenetics is a completely new research field studying the variability and heredity in supra-organismal systems composed of different species bound by intimate symbiotic interactions. In this special issue of Biological Communications we demonstrate the major ideas of symbiogenetics using the models of tightly integrated microbe–plant and microbe–animal symbioses in which the micropartners colonize the internal niches of host organisms. Furthermore, we suppose that the integrative approaches provided by symbiogenetics have a pronounced applied potential aimed at constructing the superspecific systems for agricultural, biomedical and environmental purposes.

Guest Editors: Prof. Igor A. Tikhonovich, Prof. Nikolay A. Provorov
Section Editors: Dr. Anton A. Nizhnikov, Dr. Kirill S. Antonets, Dr. Pavel P. Skutschas

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (September 1, 2020)| 9 articles

Special Issue Information

The great majority of organisms undergo their living cycles as the components of supra-organismal communities in which a broad spectrum of competitive, antagonistic and cooperative interactions are implemented. Among them, mutualistic cooperation is of special interest since it usually involves the partners’ genetic integration resulted in formation of the super-species genetic systems — metagenomes, hologenomes, symbiogenomes. A degree of this integration ranges from the cross-regulations of partners’ genes via the highly specific signaling interactions to the partners’ genetic recombination resulted in emergence of mosaic genomes of eukaryotic organisms.

The cooperative strategies of the organism development, adaptation and evolution represents a subject of symbiogenetics which is a novel and actively developing biological area aimed to study the genetic integration of distant species in different types of biological communities. In this issue of Biological Communications, we will highlight the most studied models of symbiogenetics represented by bacteria–plant and bacteria–animal cooperations. They allow us to address a broad spectrum of genetic phenomena including symbiogenesis as an evolutionary pathway connecting the autonomously living bacteria and cellular organelles. The genetically specialized host-pathogen systems will also be discussed as the notable examples of the stable supra-organismal systems which, in many cases, may be reorganized into beneficial symbioses. The models and algorithms of symbiotic engineering for constructing the novel genomes and supra-organismal systems to be used for the agronomic, biomedical and environment-protective purposes will also be presented.

The manuscripts submitted for consideration in this special issue should not have been published elsewhere (with exception of presenting results at scientific conferences). All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed.

The coverage of this Issue includes but is not limited to following topics:

  • Plant-microbial cooperation;
  • Host-pathogen interactions;
  • Metagenomics, metatransriptomics and metaproteomics in symbiogenetics;
  • Symbiogenesis and organellogenesis;
  • Evolution of supra-organismal systems;
  • Horizontal and endosymbiotic gene transfer;
  • Molecular modelling to study signal transduction;
  • Population genomics of symbiotic microorganisms;
  • Extremophilic microbial communities;
  • Human microbiome;
  • Synthetic microbial consortia for agriculture, biomedicine and environment protection.


Biological Communications Vol. 65 No. 1 (2020)

Special Issue: 125th anniversary of the N.I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR)

Section Editors: Dr. Anton A. Nizhnikov, Dr. Alla V. Krasikova, Dr. Farida V. Minibayeva

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (September 1, 2019)| 6 articles


Biological Communications Vol. 64 No. 2 (2019)

Special Issue: 100 years of the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, St. Petersburg State University

At least twice in its history, the Department of Genetics of the St. Petersburg University played a key role in the development of genetics in Russia: first, at the outset of the origins of genetics in the country; and then once again during its comeback after Lysenkoism. This Special Issue is devoted to the 100 Anniversary of the Department of Genetics of the St. Petersburg University.

Guest Editors: Prof. Sergey G. Inge-Vechtomov, Prof. Galina A. Zhouravleva
Section Editors: Dr. Anton A. Nizhnikov, Dr. Alla V. Krasikova

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (September 1, 2018)| 7 articles


Biological Communications Vol. 63 No. 1 (2018)

Special Issue: 150 years of the Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of St. Petersburg State University

Guest Editor: Prof. Maria F. Shishova
Section Editor: Dr. Farida V. Minibayeva

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (September 1, 2017)| 10 articles