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Staff photo Johanna Leppälä

Johanna Leppälä

My research focuses on understanding the genetic basis of plant speciation.

Works at

KB E5, Linnaeus väg 6, Umeå, 5.051.01 Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

Species barriers commonly manifest themselves as reduced hybrid viability and/or fertility. When it is feasible to obtain viable and flowering hybrids between species, their fertility is commonly compromised. Often fertility reduction is due to chromosomal differences between parental species that cause meiotic problems during gamete development in hybrids. But for recently diverged species pairs that share the same chromosome number and the genomes are largely collinear, the underlying mechanism is thought to involve epistatic interactions, incompatibilities, between genes. In my research I am investigating underlying genetics for reproductive isolation in hybrids within and between outcrossing Arabidopsis species (A. lyrata, A. halleri and A. arenosa). I am especially interested in reduction of hybrid pollen fertility as it is one of the first barriers to emerge between incipient species. In addition, I am interested in evolution of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) and genetics of morphological traits that may contribute to local adaptation and whether there is any correlation between ecological divergence and reproductive isolation. In my on-going work, I also wish to explore genetics of clonal growth and how does it affect survival and sexual reproduction.

Rersearch area
Evolutionary biology

Plant Physiology, American Society of Plant Biologists 2021, Vol. 186, (1) : 180-192
Morales, Luis O.; Shapiguzov, Alexey; Safronov, Omid; et al.
Journal of Experimental Botany, Oxford University Press 2019, Vol. 70, (4) : 1069-1076
Vaattovaara, Aleksia; Leppälä, Johanna; Salojarvi, Jarkko; et al.

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