Our lab focuses on quantitative genetics and statistical genomics of maize and its wild relatives, from historical domestication to future improvement.

The ancient domestication and recent improvement processes can be considered case studies to understand plant adaptation from different time scales.

Domesticated from its wild ancestor teosinte (meaning “the grain of the gods”) about 9,000 years ago, ancient farmers had taken about 5,000 years to convert the bushy grass producing hundreds of thumb-length ears to the plant recognized as modern corn that adapted to the wide environmental conditions. Starting from the early 19 century, modern breeding has dramatically reshaped plant morphology, especially with the broad application of inorganic nitrogen (N) fertilizer in maize production. In our lab, we use this system to study the genetic and epigenetic inheritance patterns during the maize domestication and improvement processes, with the ultimate goal of improving the maize yield and NUE.

We are currently focusing on the below major research areas (see research page for more details):

If you are interested in any of the above topics, read more about how to join the lab.