Plant Evolutionary Genetics

We study adaptive evolution in multiple contexts, but our main focus is on understanding what it takes to be polyploid. Polyploidy arises from whole genome duplication and is implicated in adaptation, speciation, and the evolution of genome complexity. Nevertheless, when polyploids first arise, they face challenges to their fertility and physiology that must be overcome in order for lineages to survive.

A major focus is understanding how autopolyploids evolve to stabilize meiotic chromosome segregation. We seek to understand both the challenges that genome duplication creates, and the mechanistic basis of the evolved solutions in the tetraploid lineage. Increasingly, we are starting to work on additional traits such as stomatal opening dynamics, pollen tube growth, and other traits. The lab is also interested in studying the evolution of meiosis in another context: Climate. Temperature is an important stress factor for meiosis, and in heat waves, can fail entirely. We are studying how populations that regularly experience elevated temperatures evolve to tolerate temperature extremes that other populations cannot. This currently seems to have surprising links back to polyploidy.

• Evolution of crossover interference enables stable autopolyploidy by ensuring pairwise partner connections in Arabidopsis arenosa
Morgan, Chris; White, Martin A.; Franklin, F. Chris H.; Zickler, Denise; Kleckner, Nancy; et al.
Current Biology 10.1016/j.cub.2021.08.028  NOV 8 2021

• Diffusion-mediated HEI10 coarsening can explain meiotic crossover positioning in Arabidopsis
Morgan, Chris; Fozard, John A.; Hartley, Matthew; Henderson, Ian R.; Bomblies, Kirsten; et al.
Nature Communications 10.1038/s41467-021-24827-w AUG 3 2021

• Male meiotic recombination rate varies with seasonal temperature fluctuations in wild populations of autotetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa
Weitz, Andrew P.; Dukic, Marinela; Zeitler, Leo; Bomblies, Kirsten
Molecular Ecology 10.1111/mec.16084  OCT 2021

• De Novo Mutation and Rapid Protein (Co-)evolution during Meiotic Adaptation in Arabidopsis arenosa
Bohutinska, Magdalena; Handrick, Vinzenz; Yant, Levi; Schmickl, Roswitha; Kolar, Filip; et al.
Molecular Biology And Evolution 10.1093/molbev/msab001 Published: MAY 2021

• When everything changes at once: finding a new normal after genome duplication
K Bomblies
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287 (1939):2020-2154,   2020

• Derived alleles of two axis proteins affect meiotic traits in autotetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa
Morgan, Chris; Zhang, Huakun; Henry, Clare E.; Franklin, F. Chris H; Bomblies, Kirsten
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1919459117 Published: APR 21 2020

• Relaxed purifying selection in autopolyploids drives transposable element over-accumulation which provides variants for local adaptation
P Baduel, L Quadrana, B Hunter, K Bomblies, V Colot
Nature communications 10 (1), 1-10, 10.1038/s41467-019-13730-0  2019

• Both male and female gametogenesis require a fully functional protein S‐acyl transferase 21 in Arabidopsis thaliana
Y Li, HJ Li, C Morgan, K Bomblies, W Yang, B Qi
The Plant Journal 100 (4), 754-767,  DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14475   2019

• Pervasive population genomic consequences of genome duplication in Arabidopsis arenosa
P Monnahan, F Kolář, P Baduel, C Sailer, J Koch, R Horvath, B Laenen, Schmickl, R, Paajanen, P, Sramkova, G, Bohutinska, M, Arnold, B, Weisman, CM, Marhold, K, Slotte, T, Bomblies, K, Yant, L
Nature ecology & evolution 3 (3), 457-468, 10.1038/s41559-019-0807-4  2019

• Genetic basis and evolution of rapid cycling in railway populations of tetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa
P Baduel, B Hunter, S Yeola, K Bomblies
PLoS genetics 14 (7), e1007510, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007510  2018

• Plasticity of Meiotic Recombination Rates in Response to Temperature in Arabidopsis
Lloyd, Andrew; Morgan, Chris; Franklin, F. Chris H.; Franklin FCH; Bomblies K
Genetics 208 (4):1409-1420, 10.1534/genetics.117.300588  APR 2018

Kirsten Bomblies ETHZ portrait

Prof. Dr. Kirsten Bomblies
ETH Zurich
Institute of Molecular Plant Biology
8092 Zurich

phone: +41 (0)44 632 7189

Research topics

  • Polyploidy
  • Evolution
  • Adaptation