Wind Tossed Sea of Arctic Cotton, taken by Mike Beauregard

Wendel Lab

Portrait of Jonathon WendelIn our lab we work on the fascinating connections between molecular evolutionary processes and genotypic/phenotypic diversity. Our many research projects explore various aspects of  molecular and genome evolution, phylogenetics, and phenotypic evolution of higher plants. We use a diverse set of technologies and approaches to explore the manner in which genomes change over evolutionary time, as well as the relationship between these events and morphological change. We have a particular interest in the mysterious and common phenomenon of genome doubling, or polyploidy, with a special focus on the cotton genus (Gossypium).

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Evolution of duplicated pathways and networks

Polyploid speciation is exceptionally common in plants, often operating sympatrically to saltationally generate new lineages.

Comparative genomics and genome size evolution

Comparative evolutionary genomics and domestication genomics are among the most active areas of research in the lab. Please check back here often for updates on our massive genomic resequencing effort, our comparative molecular evolutionary analyses, and our work on domestication genomics.

Biodiversity and the discovery of new cotton species

Somewhat remarkably, given its importance in human commence, new species of cotton continue to be discovered.  Our lab is among the few worldwide that maintains an active interest in fundamental plant exploration and discovery in the cotton genus.

Evolution of duplicate gene expression

One of the important realizations to emerge from numerous studies of polyploid plants is that polyploid creates massive alterations in gene expression.

More Research

Genes, Jeans and Genomes, 2021: What we now know about the evolution of Gossypium and the origin of the polyploids

Cotton fiber development and strength, Youtube video by Michael Stiff

D-genome music video!