Yaowu Yuan (袁耀武）
University of Connecticut
75 N. Eagleville Rd., Unit 3043
Storrs, CT 06269-3043
Office Phone: 860-486-3469
Lab Phone: 860-486-4154
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.