Apomixis Research Group

Leader: [link]Prof. Dr. Timothy Sharbel

Publications : [link]Link

 

We are interested in the origin and evolution of apomixis (asexual reproduction through seed) in wild plant populations.

 

From a practical standpoint, apomixis technology has been referred to as a potential agricultural revolution due to the extensive benefits it could bring to crop production. From a theoretical standpoint, apomixis is considered an evolutionary-unstable form of reproduction since asexuality should lead to genetic uniformity and mutation accumulation. Apomixis (and parthenogenesis in animals) is nonetheless an extremely successful reproductive strategy in certain biogeographical contexts. Our research thus focuses on naturally-occurring genetic and phenotypic variation on both large and small geographic scales, with the goal of understanding how and why the switch from sexuality to apomixis is made. In addition, apomixis is very frequently associated with polyploidy, hybridization and genomic instability, and thus we also study these phenomena and how they are correlated with apomictic phenotypes.