Molecular Evolution

Welcome! Our research focuses on the evolutionary process at the molecular level. In particular, we investigate how a mixture of natural selection and non-adaptive forces create and maintain the amazing diversity in genome size, structure, and function that exists across the tree of life. Much of our research pertains to the evolution of organelle or endosymbiont genomes and how the multiple genomic compartments that co-exist within eukaryotes interact to define basic cell function. This work primarily uses plant systems. But we also like to expand the taxonomic scope of our questions to include diverse organisms such as humans, insects, and bacteria, often with the help of collaborators.

Our methods involve field sampling of natural populations, crossing designs, genome editing, mitochondrial and plastid physiology, and computational biology. We make extensive use of current DNA sequencing technologies and draw on multiple disciplines including population genetics, phylogenetics, molecular biology, and functional genomics to develop and address evolutionary questions.

To learn more about recent and ongoing projects, please explore our research and publications pages.