Evolutionary genomics and ecology of macro- and microevolutionary transitions

Evolutionary Genomics

Our group is fascinated by the diversity and evolution of living organisms, populations and ecological systems. Our primary goal is to understand the basic principles underlying both macro- and microevolutionary changes using plants as model organisms. In particular, our interest extends over several fields of plant biology, including ecology, population genomics, molecular evolution, evo-devo, systematics and comparative genomics with special attention to basal groups of land plants. We combine field-based ecological and lab-based molecular/reverse genetic approaches including computationally intensive modeling and genome analysis to understand evolutionary processes both at the macro- and microevolutionary scales.


Recent Publications

  • Development and characterization of novel SSR markers in the endangered endemic species Ferula sadleriana
    Malkocs, Tamas; Laczko, Levente; Bereczki, Judit; Meglecz, Emese; Szoevenyi, Peter; et al.
    Applications In Plant Sciences 8(2) Special Issue, DOI: 10.1002/aps3.11321 FEB 2020
  • Anthoceros genomes illuminate the origin of land plants and the unique biology of hornworts
    Fay-Wei Li, Tomoaki Nishiyama, Manuel Waller, Eftychios Frangedakis, Jean Keller, Zheng Li, Noe Fernandez-Pozo, Michael S. Barker, Tom Bennett, Miguel A. Blázquez, Shifeng Cheng, Andrew C. Cuming, Jan de Vries, Sophie de Vries, Pierre-Marc Delaux, Issa S. Diop, C. Jill Harrison, Duncan Hauser, Jorge Hernández-García, Alexander Kirbis, John C. Meeks, Isabel Monte, Sumanth K. Mutte, Anna Neubauer, Dietmar Quandt, Tanner Robison, Masaki Shimamura, Stefan A. Rensing, Juan Carlos Villarreal, Dolf Weijers, Susann Wicke, Gane K.-S. Wong, Keiko Sakakibara & Péter Szövényi
    Nature Plants. March 13, 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41477-020-0618-2
  • Towards a plant model for enigmatic U-to-C RNA editing: the organelle genomes, transcriptomes, editomes and candidate RNA editing factors in the hornwort Anthoceros agrestis
    Gerke, Philipp; Szovenyi, Peter; Neubauer, Anna; Lenz, Henning; Gutmann, Bernard; et al.
    New Phytologist, 10.1111/nph.16297
  • Organellomic data sets confirm a cryptic consensus on (unrooted) land-plant relationships and provide new insights into bryophyte molecular evolution
    Bell, David; Lin, Qianshi; Gerelle, Weslery K.; Joya, Steve; Chang, Ying; et al.
    American Journal Of Botany,  DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1397
  • One thousand plant transcriptomes and the phylogenomics of green plants
    Leebens-Mack, James H.; Barker, Michael S.; Carpenter, Eric J.; Deyholos, Michael K.; Gitzendanner, Matthew A.; et al.
    Nature DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1693-2
  • The lichen symbiosis re-viewed through the genomes of Cladonia grayi and its algal partner Asterochloris glomerata
    Armaleo, D; Muller, O; Lutzoni, F; Andresson, OS; Blanc, G; Bode, HB; Collart, FR; Dal Grande, F; Dietrich, F; Grigoriev, IV; Joneson, S; Kuo, A; Larsen, PE; Logsdon, JM; Lopez, D; Martin, F; May, SP; McDonald, TR; Merchant, SS; Miao, V; Morin, E; Oono, R; Pellegrini, M; Rubinstein, N; Sanchez-Puerta, MV; Savelkoul, E; Schmitt, I; Slot, JC; Soanes, D; Szovenyi, P; Talbot, NJ; Veneault-Fourrey, C; Xavier, B
    BMC GENOMICS, 20 10.1186/s12864-019-5629-x JUL 23 2019
  • Evolution of the plant body plan
    Szovenyi, P; Waller, M; Kirbis, A
    PLANT DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION, 131 1-+; 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2018.11.005 2019
  • CLAVATA Was a Genetic Novelty for the Morphological Innovation of 3D Growth in Land Plants
    Whitewoods, CD; Cammarata, J; Venza, ZN; Sang, S; Crook, AD; Aoyama, T; Wang, XY; Waller, M; Kamisugi, Y; Cuming, AC; Szovenyi, P; Nimchuk, ZL; Roeder, AHK; Scanlon, MJ; Harrison, CJ
    CURRENT BIOLOGY, 28 (15):2365-+; 10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.068 AUG 6 2018
  • The Physcomitrella patens gene atlas project: large-scale RNA-seq based expression data
    Perroud, PF; Haas, FB; Hiss, M; Ullrich, KK; Alboresi, A; Amirebrahimi, M; Barry, K; Bassi, R; Bonhomme, S; Chen, HD; Coates, JC; Fujita, T; Guyon-Debast, A; Lang, D; Lin, JY; Lipzen, A; Nogue, F; Oliver, MJ; de Leon, IP; Quatrano, RS; Rameau, C; Reiss, B; Reski, R; Ricca, M; Saidi, Y; Sun, N; Szovenyi, P; Sreedasyam, A; Grimwood, J; Stacey, G; Schmutz, J; Rensing, SA
    PLANT JOURNAL, 95 (1):168-182; 10.1111/tpj.13940 JUL 2018
  • The Sphagnome Project: enabling ecological and evolutionary insights through a genus-level sequencing project 
    Weston, David J.; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Johnson, Matthew G.; et al. 
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 217 (1): 16-25 JAN 2018 10.1111/nph.14860
  • How Do Cold-Adapted Plants Respond to Climatic Cycles? Interglacial Expansion Explains Current Distribution and Genomic Diversity in Primula farinosa L. 
    Theodoridis, Spyros; Randin, Christophe; Szovenyi, Peter; et al. 
    SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY, 66 (5): 715-736, 10.1093/sysbio/syw114  SEP 2017
  • Selfing in Haploid Plants and Efficacy of Selection: Codon Usage Bias in the Model Moss Physcomitrella patens 
    Szovenyi, P; Ullrich, KK; Rensing, SA; Lang, D; van Gessel, N; Stenoien, HK; Conti, E; Reski, R 
    GENOME BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 9 (6): 1528-1546 JUN 2017
  • Divergent evolution and niche differentiation within the common peatmoss Sphagnum magellanicum 
    Yousefi, Narjes; Hassel, Kristian; Flatberg, Kjell Ivar; Kemppainen, Petri; Trucchi, Emiliano; Shaw, A. Jonathan; Kyrkjeeide, Magni Olsen; Szoevenyi, Peter; Stenoien, Hans K
    AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY, 104 (7): 1060-1072 JUL 2017
  • A fern AINTEGUMENTA gene mirrors BABY BOOM in promoting apogamy in Ceratopteris richardii 
    Bui, LT; Pandzic, D; Youngstrom, CE; Wallace, S; Irish, EE; Szovenyi, P; Cheng, CL
    PLANT JOURNAL, 90 (1): 122-132 APR 2017
  • Hornworts: An Overlooked Window into Carbon-Concentrating Mechanisms
    Li, Fay-Wei; Villarreal, Juan Carlos; Szovenyi, Peter
    TRENDS IN PLANT SCIENCE 22(4): 275-277  APR 2017
Szoevenyi Peter

Dr. Peter Szövényi
University of Zurich
Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
8008 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 634 84 18

Research topics

  • The evolution of life cycle transitions in plants
  • The evolution of the land plant sporophyte
  • The effect of ploidy on evolutionary processes
  • Sex chromosome evolution and sex determination in haploid dioecy
  • The genetics and epigenetics of inbreeding and outbreeding depression
  • Genomic imprinting in plants lacking endosperm



  • Comparative evolutionary developmental biology
  • Evolutionary genomics
  • Adaptation to changing climate
  • Evolutionary transcriptomics
  • Breeding system evolution