Martha Serrano


My research interests have started with the study of genetic diversity patterns in domesticated plant species. The investigation of wild gene pools, number and location of domesticated beans in the Americas have brought me into the understanding of evolutionary patterns in Neotropical plant diversity

Currently, the goal of my PhD research is examine morphological, ecological and molecular evolution during speciation of Neotropical plant lineages. In particular, substantial differences on species richness across clades in Gesneriaceae family may suggest that several factors have potentially increased or decreased diversification probabilities during their evolution. I integrate phylogenetic, ecological and comparative methods to develop my thesis. In addition, I investigate the genetic variation and gene expression differences of multiple pollination shifts in species of the Gesneriaceae family. The examination of next generation sequencing data will allow to test whether multiple shifted species did experience genetic changes in a coordinated fashion. Altogether these findings will contribute to the understanding of factors playing a role on diversification processes in the Neotropical biodiversity hotspots. This project is developed in collaboration with the Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève.

Funding: Fellowship of Faculty of Biology and Medicine, 2011

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