Antirrhinum graniticum - Xilocopa violacea

Xilocopa violacea on an Antirrhinum graniticum

Plant Evolutionary Biology: patterns, processes and mechanisms

Our research reflects the view that the study of plant evolution and biodiversity is best approached by incorporating many perspectives. We bring together a diversity of disciplines that complement one another to unravel the causes of what Charles Darwin described as the "abominable mystery" of flowering plants' rapid morphological diversification. More precisely, we study the evolutionary patterns, processes, and mechanisms as revealed by molecular genetic techniques. The focuses of our research are: 1, the study of phylogenetic patterns of several groups of plants with particular emphasis in processes like hybridization, allopolyploidy and adaptive radiation; 2, the inference of biogeographic patterns involving processes like dispersal and vicariance and analytical techniques such as molecular dating and phylogenetic, likelihood, Bayesian and parsimony-based approaches; 3, the evolution of key (reproductive, ecophysiological, anatomical) traits in plants and their roles in the evolution of angiosperm lineages; 4, the integration of ecological modelling into phylogenetic, phylogeographic and populational studies within a global change context; and recently 5, the genomic, chromosomal, epigenetic, and developmental bases of morphological characters evolution in plants.

To achieve our objectives, members of the line use or plan to use a varied sample of techniques, which include plant sampling in natural populations, macro and micromorphological studies, molecular techniques (sequencing, RT-PCR, DNA-fingerprinting, qPCR); phylogenetic and genetic distance analyses, population structure, genomic and gene expression analyses; ecological modelling through bioclimatic computer simulation and analytical biogeography tools. Most of our research is based on the study of natural populations from groups of Angiosperms in their natural habitats, but the influence of our research goes further, extending its outcome from basic knowledge to applied technology and development of new analytical tools. Angiosperms provide a broad sampling of diversity among our major crops, as reflected by independent domestication of about 200 plant species. Evolutionary studies supply the basis for the conservation, screening of economic traits, selection, and new developments for this economic activity.


Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC. Plaza de Murillo, 2. Madrid E-28014 (ESPAÑA). Tel. +34 91 4203017. FAX: +34 91 4200157
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