My research is focused on the evolutionary and genetic basis of natural variation in plants, and uses methods of population genetics, ecology and forward genetics. Natural variation interests me broadly, including some long-standing mysteries of complex life forms, such as polyploidy, asexual reproduction and selfing. How were these kinds of variation generated and how do they help plants adapt to natural or human-impacted habitats?
Previous projects I have worked on include the population epigenetic variation of clonal desert poplar (Populus euphratica) in the Tarim Basin, the speciation and adaptation of the tetraploid Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) across Eurasia, and the association between polyploid frequency and species diversification of Allium plants around the world. Now I am using Rorippa as a focal genus for studies of polyploidy, and Boechera for studies of apomixis. Please visit my website for more information about these projects.
Complex traits such as polyploidy and asexual reproduction are prevalent tools in crop breeding. Can we use them to sustainably improve our life in the future?