The Plant Genetics Group examines the genetic basis of local climatic adaptation. Many plants (and animals) have evolved adaptations to the northern conditions upon colonizing northern areas after the ice age. These are seen as differing flowering start or ending times in the lyrate rock cress Arabidopsis lyrata or as differing times of growth cessation in trees such as Scots pine. We examine the genetics of these differences and the evolutionary forces maintaining them by using common garden field experiments, crossing programs, examination of whole genome (A. lyrata) or exome (Scots pine) sequences or studies of gene expression. (We also do some work on the relationship of ecological and genetic divergence to reproductive isolation in A. lyrata. ). We have recently initiated some adaptation work also with two species of Drosophila that have well-defined photoperiodic reactions varying over latitudes. The group is led by Dr. Outi Savolainen, with senior scientists Dr. Helmi Kuittinen and Dr. Tanja Pyhäjärvi. There are two post docs, four to five doctoral students, and three M.Sc. students. We are members of Biocenter Oulu and collaborate in a European project, ProCoGen, developing conifer genomic resources.
Last updated: 10.2.2015