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Germplasm Bank of Wild Species
Location: Home > Germplasm Bank of Wild Species > GAO Lizhi's Group > Major Research Achievements
Major Research Achievements

1) Origins and artificial selection of important cultivated plant genomes. We employ multiple approaches of theoretical population genetics, phylogeography and population genomics to understand fundamental questions regarding origins and evolution of important cultivated plants particularly including rice, tea, oil tea and camellia. We are also studying artificial selection with emphasis on the characterization of domesticated genes and surrounding selective genomic regions for the purposes of functional identification and utilization of these genes and better knowledge of genome evolution in the context of the domestication.

2) Evolution of duplicate genes and polyploidy in flowering plants. We analyze publicly available genomesequences and functional data to study evolutionary mechanisms of gene conversion, retention and functional divergence of duplicate genes after individual gene duplications, segmental duplications and the whole genome duplications (WGDs). By using Oryza, Camellia, Arabidopsis and Brachypodium as model systems, we have successfully synthesized artificial polyploids to investigate genomic effects and evolutionary implications after the polyploidization for exploring the potential in the future breeding programs.

3) Plant genome structure, function and evolution using Oryza and Camellia as evolutionary model organisms. We develop the platform of next-generation genome sequencing and high-through bioinformatic pipelines towards draft and then complete genome sequences of rice, tea and their relatives. Together with publicly available genomesequences, we are interested in understanding a variety of evolutionary processes and testing the existing hypotheses including i) the nature of rearrangements and the contribution of transposable elements to genome size evolution; ii) genomic bases of reproductive isolation and speciation; iii) natural selection, copy number variation and evolutionary consequences of gene families; iv) epigenetic effects of transposable elements on gene expression, evolution and functions; and v) origins and evolution of microRNAs and their contributions to genomic regulations, networks and adaptive evolution.

4)Tracing evolutionary histories and diversification of plants by means of phylogenomic approaches. Using phylogenomic approaches, we sequence and comprehensively analyze the chloroplast, mitochondria and nuclear genomic data to reconstruct evolutionary historiesof plants by taking the grass and Theaceae families. We are also interested in characterizing and understanding genetic and genomic interactions and evolution among the three different genetic systems.

In the recent five years, we set up the lab and research team of evolutionary & comparative functional genomics and bioinformatics in the institute. We have made great progress in the above-mentioned lines of research to address important questions in molecular and genome evolution. We obtained draft genomes of up to eight Oryza species as well as considerable genomic data in the Camellia species for further data analyses. We also synthesized artificial polyploids and developed the introgression lines of rice species. There are six papers have been published and/or in press in international journals, and more than ten manuscripts have been submitted or under preparation, which are expected to be published in the next year.

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