Ecological and developmental genetics

Ecological and Developmental Genetics

The study of genetic variation in ecologically relevant plant traits can lead to an understanding of evolutionary processes and result in increased agricultural output. Recent technological advances in molecular biology and genetics, together with the adoption of model organisms for basic research, have opened new possibilities to dissect genetic networks. However, to understand the evolutionary forces that shape these networks, an ecological context is necessary.

We combine methods from various biological disciplines, such as developmental genetics, quantitative genetics, genomics and molecular biology, as well as experimental ecology.

We are interested in interactions that occur at different levels of biological organisation – interactions between organs of an individual, interactions between conspecific individuals, and interactions between species within a community. We are adressing the following questions: what are the genetic bases of mother-child, plant-plant, and plant-soil interactions? And what are the consequences of variation in such interactions, at the level of indivual fitness or at the level of the plant community?


Recent Publications

  • A plant biodiversity effect resolved to a single genetic locus
    Samuel E Wuest, Pascal A Niklaus
    doi: FEB 2018
  • Seed Production Affects Maternal Growth and Senescence in Arabidopsis
    Wuest, Samuel Elias; Philipp, Matthias Anton; Guthorl, Daniela; et al.
    PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 171(1): 392-404  MAY 2016
  • Gene network analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana flower development through dynamic gene perturbations
    O'Maoileidigh, Diarmuid S.; Thomson, Bennett; Raganelli, Andrea; et al.
    PLANT JOURNAL  83(2): 344-358 10.1111/tpj.12878  JUL 2015
  • Cell-specific expression profiling of rare cell types as exemplified by its impact on our understanding of female gametophyte development 
    Wuest, Samuel E.; Schmid, Marc W.; Grossniklaus, Ueli 
    CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY, 16 (1): 41-49 FEB 2013 Review (Details)
  • Control of Reproductive Floral Organ Identity Specification in Arabidopsis by the C Function Regulator AGAMOUS
    O'Maoileidigh, Diarmuid S.; Wuest, Samuel E.; Rae, Liina; et al.
    PLANT CELL 25(7): 2482-2503  10.1105/tpc.113.113209  JUL 2013
  • Computational analysis and characterization of UCE-like elements (ULEs) in plant genomes 
    Kritsas, Konstantinos; Wuest, Samuel E.; Hupalo, Daniel; et al. 
    GENOME RESEARCH, 22 (12): 2455-2466 DEC 2012 Article (Details)
  • Molecular Characterization of the glauce Mutant: A Central Cell-Specific Function Is Required for Double Fertilization in Arabidopsis 
    Leshem, Yehoram; Johnson, Cameron; Wuest, Samuel E.; et al. 
    PLANT CELL, 24 (8): 3264-3277 AUG 2012 Article (Details)
  • Characterization of the phosphoproteome of mature Arabidopsis pollen 
    Mayank, Pururawa; Grossman, Jonas; Wuest, Samuel; et al. 
    LANT JOURNAL, 72 (1): 89-101 OCT 2012 Article (Details)
  • Transcriptome Analysis of the Arabidopsis Megaspore Mother Cell Uncovers the Importance of RNA Helicases for Plant Germline Development 
    Schmidt, Anja; Wuest, Samuel E.; Vijverberg, Kitty; et al. 
    PLOS BIOLOGY, 9 (9): SEP 2011

Dr. Samuel Wüst
University of Zurich
Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
8008 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 635 61 20

Research topics

  • Mother-offspring interactions
  • Reproductive allocation
  • Biodiversity effects in genotype mixtures
  • Plant-soil interactions



  • Molecular Biology and Developmental Genetics
  • Community Ecology
  • Quantitative Genetics