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Evolutionary biology

The research of this section aims to understand the dynamics that regulate the origin, maintenance and distribution of biological diversity in time and space. Both empirical and theoretical approaches are developed to characterize and quantify the interplay between ecological and genetic forces that generate diversity at genome, population and community levels.

The PI groups:

Dr. Per Stenberg and his group study (1) the evolution of genomes through structural rearrangements, (2) how the genome folds in three dimensions inside the nucleus, (3) the influence of the gut microbiome on transmission of environmental adaptations to the next generation, (4) how the ecosystem responds to climate change and (5) how antibiotics resistance in the environment changes over time.

Dr. Johanna Leppälä studies the genetic basis of plant speciation. She uses the wild relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana, like A. lyrata, A. halleri and A. arenosa, to study the performance of hybrid progenies and the underlying genetics of hybrid viability or fertility reduction, with a focus on pollen abortion in hybrids. Additionally she is interested in genetics of clonal growth and how does it affect survival and sexual reproduction.

Dr Xiao-Ru Wang and her group study (1) the biogeography of conifer species, (2) the ecological and genetic dynamics of hybrid speciation, (3) the genetic mechanisms and processes of environmental adaptation, (4) gene family and genome evolution in plants, (5) forest genetics and tree breeding application, such as investigating diversity and mating structure in breeding stocks and production seed orchards, and (6) using environmental DNA preserved in paleosoil and lake sediments to reconstruct the vegetation changes in the past.