Barbara A. Schaal, Ph.D.

Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor

Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program
Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program

Research Abstract:

Work in my laboratory studies the evolutionary genetics of plants, often in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden. Research projects span the range from molecular evolution of specific DNA sequences to higher level systematics and analysis of developmental patterns. Several studies are examining the evolution of specific genes, for example, methionine synthase in rice, or disease resistance genes in Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium. A large collaborative project is currently underway to study the genetic architecture of disease resistance and salt tolerance in Arabidopsis. We are particularly interested in the genetics of domestication. Gene genealogies and microsatellite variation have documented the origin of the crop, cassava, from its wild progenitor, Manihot. Changes in genetic variation are currently being studied in Spondias purpurea. A large collaborative project on rice examines the genetic structure of cultivated rice’s wild progenitor, Oryza rufipogon, determines the relationship between genetic diversity of landraces of rice and local farmer practices in Thailand, examines the evolution of Aluminum tolerance in rice and determines the consequences of gene flow between transgenic rice and O. rufipogon. Other studies are determining the genetic structure of native Arabidopsis populations in Eurasia, the evolution and dispersal of the trans-Pacific genus Oreomyrrhis, and evolution and hybridization and the tropical legume Schwartzia.

Selected Publications:

B. Schaal, W.J. Leverich, S. Jamjod, C. Maneechote, A . Bashir, A. Prommin, A. Punvalue, T. Sintukhiew, T. Pusadee , S. Nimitkietklai, and B. Rerkasem. Gene Flow, Biodiversity and GM Crops: Weedy Rice in Thailand. In Genes and Conservation 2010 (In Press).

Beck JB, Schmuths H, Schaal BA. Native range genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana is strongly geographically structured and reflects Pleistocene glacial dynamics. Mol Ecol 2008 17:902-15.

Torke BM, Schaal BA. Molecular phylogenetics of the species-rich neotropical genus Swartzia (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae) and related genera of the swartzioid clade. Amer J Botany 2008 95:215-228.

Kover PX, Rowntree JK, Scarcelli N, Savriama Y, Eldridge T, Schaal BA. Pleiotropic effects of environment-specific adaptation in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytol 2009 183(3):816-25.

Pusadee T, Jamjod S, Chiang YC, Rerkasem B, Schaal BA. Genetic structure and isolation by distance in a landrace of Thai rice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009 106(33):13880-5.

Last Updated: 8/4/2011 12:04:44 PM

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