Welcome to the Wendel Lab!

Welcome to the Wendel lab!  

Jonathon Wendel

In 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).  

Gossypium is extraordinarily diverse, as captured in this gorgeous picture of floral diversity (image courtesy of Cotton Incorporated):

Diversity of Gossypium

We have been trying to understand this diversity for many years, and now have a solid understanding of the phylogeny of the genus (below) and its spread around the globe (image courtesy of J. Jareczek, Corrinne Grover, and J. Wendel). It is fascinating to superimpose organismal features onto the phylogeny, so that we can understand the evolution of phenotypic and genomic traits.

The spread of the genus around the globe

This phylogenetic understanding has enabled us to refine our model of diploid divergence and polyploid evolution, all within a justified temporal framework:

Model of polyploid evolution

All of this effort at clarifying the history of the organisms has put us in the position where we now have a solid framework for exploring many aspects of cotton evolution. In our lab this includes genome evolution, comparative genomics, the origin of new phenotypes, and many different aspects of polyploid genomics and function.

I hope you explore our web page and enjoy what you find.  If you have any questions about our research or opportunities in our lab, please email me at jfw@iastate.edu.