Anne Krag Brysting
My main research interests lie within plant evolution and systematics and have been focused on diverse aspects of polyploid and reticulate evolution with strong links to the Arctic, which is one of the most polyploid-rich areas on Earth. The Arctic flora consists of numerous recently evolved polyploids. Polyploidization has probably occurred repeatedly through the entire Quaternary Era. Successive hybridization and polyploidization events can build up high-polyploid species complexes of allopolyploids with network-like histories. The use of low-copy nuclear genes has made it possible to untangle such network-like histories in several plant groups, and discuss their evolutionary and biogeographical history.
One of the classical views of polyploid plants is that they have higher rates of self-fertilization than their diploid progenitors and that polyploidy may provide a buffer towards the effects of inbreeding. Plants have evolved several mechanisms to avoid self-fertilization; one of these is the self-incompatibility system, which is a genetically controlled pollen-pistil recognition system that provides a barrier to self-fertilization. My research group is involved in a project where we are using high-throughput sequencing data to look at the effect of polyploidy on the self-incompatibility system in the Arabidopsis lyrata/petraea complex.
When a genome is duplicated through polyploidzation, the duplicated genes may experience a variety of evolutionary fates, ranging from retention of two functional copies, with possibly divergent functions, to silencing of one of the copies. We are using high-throughput transcriptome data of diploid and tetraploid Arabidopsis species to look for general patterns which regard to which genes are being silenced and which are not.
In addition to polyploidy related research, I am involved in several projects dealing with other aspects of plant evolution and ecology, for instance: fungal, bacterial and plant associations and interactions in the ectomycorrhizal plant Bistorta vivipara; assessment of gene flow in African maize and sorghum at local and global scale; and conservation biology of redlisted plant species in Svalbard.
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