Ecological Genetics

Ecological Genetics

Rebecca Schwab

Wild plants encounter pathogens all the time. Nevertheless, devastating disease is rare in natural ecosystems, while it is a big problem in agriculture, where monoculture is commonly practiced. This phenomenon has often been attributed to the genetic heterogeneity in wild plant populations - but how does it look like and how does it evolve over space and time? 

We employ Arabidopsis thaliana and its natural oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis to study the geographical patterns of virulence and resistance, identify disease resistance-conferring loci, and investigate their sequences across the landscape. 

Our main areas of interest:

  • Spatial variation of disease resistance
  • Spatial and temporal persistence of resistance strategies
  • Evolutionary dynamics and heterogeneity of resistance-conferring loci
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