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

  • Different molecular changes underlie the same phenotypic transition: Origins and consequences of independent shifts to homostyly within species
    Mora-Carrera, Emiliano; Stubbs, Rebecca L.; Keller, Barbara; Leveille-Bourret, Etienne; Vos, Jurriaan M.; Szoevenyi, Peter; Conti, Elena
    Molecular Ecology 10.1111/mec.16270  NOV 2021
  • Extensive Genome-Wide Phylogenetic Discordance Is Due to Incomplete Lineage Sorting and Not Ongoing Introgression in a Rapidly Radiated Bryophyte Genus
    Meleshko, Olena; Martin, Michael D.; Korneliussen, Thorfinn Sand; Schroeck, Christian; Lamkowski, Paul; et al.
    Molecular Biology And Evolution 10.1093/molbev/msab063  JUL 2021
  • An Agrobacterium-mediated stable transformation technique for the hornwort model Anthoceros agrestis
    Frangedakis, Eftychios; Waller, Manuel; Nishiyama, Tomoaki; Tsukaya, Hirokazu; Xu, Xia; et al.
    New Phytologist 10.1111/nph.17524  NOV 2021
  • Lipid exchanges drove the evolution of mutualism during plant terrestrialization
    Rich, Melanie K.; Vigneron, Nicolas; Libourel, Cyril; Keller, Jean; Xue, Li; et al.
    Science 10.1126/science.abg0929  MAY 21 2021
  • Charting the genomic landscape of seed-free plants
    Szovenyi, Peter; Gunadi, Andika; Li, Fay-Wei
    Nature Plants  10.1038/s41477-021-00888-z  Early Access: APR 2021
  • The hornworts: morphology, evolution and development
    Frangedakis, Eftychios; Shimamura, Masaki; Villarreal, Juan Carlos; Li, Fay-Wei; Tomaselli, Marta; et al.
    New Phytologist  DOI: 10.1111/nph.16874 SEP 2020
  • Evolutionary History of the Marchantia polymorpha Complex
    Linde, Anna-Malin; Sawangproh, Weerachon; Cronberg, Nils; Szoevenyi, Peter; Lagercrantz, Ulf
    Frontiers In Plant Science  DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00829  JUN 26 2020
  • Transcriptional Landscapes of Divergent Sporophyte Development in Two Mosses, Physcomitrium (Physcomitrella) patens and Funaria hygrometrica
    Kirbis, Alexander; Waller, Manuel; Ricca, Mariana; Bont, Zoe; Neubauer, Anna; et al.
    Frontiers In Plant Science  DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00747 JUN 10 2020
  • A pseudomolecule-scale genome assembly of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha
    Diop, Seydina I.; Subotic, Oliver; Giraldo-Fonseca, Alejandro; Waller, Manuel; Kirbis, Alexander; et al.
    Plant Journal  DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14602  Published: MAR 2020
  • 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  2019
  • 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 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
Szoevenyi Peter

PD 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