We are a bunch of people who are interested in how and why organisms evolve so many beautiful forms in nature. We study flower diversification as a representation of the general problem of phenotypic evolution. We have developed many genetic and genomic resources and functional tools in a classical ecological and evolutionary model system, monkeyflowers (Mimulus), so that we can integrate hard-core genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary ecology to actually address this problem.
The specific questions we ask include: What are the genes underlying the dazzling variation of flower color and shape? How do these gene products (e.g., transcription factors, enzymes, signaling proteins) regulate the production, transportation, modification, and degradation of pigments to generate floral color patterns? How do they regulate the division, elongation, and polarization of cells to make flower shapes? How does evolution tinker with these genes to generate different phenotypes among species? What is the adaptive significance of the diverse floral forms? How do flowers with different color patterns and shapes interact with different pollinators? What role do these interactions play in adaptation, reproductive isolation, and speciation? Please see our Research pages if you are interested in learning more about what we do.
Aug 20, 2016 - We welcome new graduate students Amy and Qiaoshan.
Aug 10, 2016 - Seeing our visiting scholar Dr. Mou off. So much work she did in the past year!
Jun 20, 2016 - Connor has officially graduated and is taking a job at NIH. Best luck to your future endeavors, Connor!
Jun 03, 2016 - Lauren passed her general exam. Way to go!
Feb 29, 2016- We are super-excited that NSF has just awarded us a grant to identify and characterize novel transcription factors regulating carotenoid pigmentation during flower development!
Feb 16, 2016 - Our new paper on the genetic basis and molecular mechanism underlying spatial pattern variation of floral anthocyanin pigmentation between natural Mimulus species is now online.
Jan 21, 2016 - Baoqing's technical report on a transient gene expression assay and the utility of fluorescent proteins in M. lewisii is now online.
Nov 20, 2015 - We welcome our visiting scholar Dr. Wenjie Chen, from the Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Oct 30, 2015 - Lauren's presentation on the transcriptional regulation of carotenoid pigmentation won the First Prize in the International Academic Conference for Graduate Students hosted by Nanjing Agricultural University, China. Congrats!