In our lab we work on the fascinating connections between molecular evolutionary processes and genotypic/phenotypic diversity.  Our many research projects explore various aspects of  molecular and genome evolution, phylogenetics, and phenotypic evolution of higher plants.  We use a diverse set of technologies and approaches to explore the manner in which genomes change over evolutionary time, as well as the relationship between these events and morphological change. We have a particular interest in the mysterious and common phenomenon of genome doubling, or polyploidy, with a special focus on the cotton genus (Gossypium).   Read more about



Polyploid speciation is exceptionally common in plants, often operating sympatrically to saltationally generate new lineages.

An additional remarkable feature of the cotton genus is that it exhibits some rather extraordinary genome size evolution.  Some of this is captured in the figure below, which shows the three-fold variation just among the diploids, from a low in the New World D-genome cottons to a high in the Australian K-genome species.

Recent Publications

Wendel, J. F., D. Lisch, G. Hu,  and A. S. Mason. 2018. The long and short of doubling down: polyploidy, epigenetics, and the temporal dynamics of genome fractionation. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 49:1–7.

Zhao, B., J.-F. Cao, G. Hu, Z. W. Chen, L.-Y. Wang, X.-X. Shangguan, L.-J. Wang, Y.-B. Mao, T. Zhang, J. F. Wendel, and X.-Y. Chen. 2018. Core cis-element variation confers subgenome-biased expression of a transcription factor that functions in cotton fiber elongation. New Phytologist (in press).

Bottani, S.,  N. Radu Zabet, J. F. Wendel and R. A. Veitia. 2018. Gene expression dominance in allopolyploids: hypotheses and models. Trends in Plant Science

Hu, G. and J. F. Wendel. 2018. An analytical framework to understand regulatory novelty accompanying allopolyploidization. bioRxiv 212092; doi: Read more about