An NSF Research Coordination Network

Department of Plant Sciences

University of Oxford


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Research Interests

We are interested in understanding the basis for generation of different organismal forms. Angiosperm leaves offer an attractive opportunity to study morphological evolution as they demonstrate an enormous degree of morphological diversity. To study this problem we employ molecular genetic and comparative development approaches in plants with divergent leaf forms. Our aim is twofold, first to build a concrete picture of the genetic networks operating to sculpt angiosperm shoot form and second to understand how these networks are modified through evolution to result in the multitude of distinct leaf forms apparent in nature.

Systems of choice.
We use two model genetic systems
Arabidopsis and tomato. More recently we have started work on relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana that demonstrate divergent morphologies. We hope that phylogenetically informed comparative studies in species with different morphologies will allow us to understand what specific changes in gene expression/function control evolution of leaf form.