Giant Genomes

An exploration of plants with giant genomes

fritilalriaLarge-scale comparative analyses of plant genome sizes have shown that plants with large genomes are at greater risk of extinction, are less adaptable to living in polluted soils, and are less able to tolerate extreme environmental conditions. In short, genome size is likely to have ecological consequences which shape the distribution and persistence of biodiversity. Genome size in angiosperms (flowering plants) varies by an astonishing 2,400-fold range and by comparison mammals and birds vary only 5- and 2-fold respectively. We aim to understand the underlying processes that give rise to plants with giant genomes and their ecological consequences.

We are interested in the following research areas that address the causes and consequences of giant genomes, asking:

[1] What sequences make up these giants? [2] Why do some plant genomes become so huge? [3] Why are there many giant genomes found amongst  gymnosperms? [4] Why are so many species with giant genomes rare and endangered?

If you are interested in undertaking research into these areas please contact me.