My research focuses on dissecting the genome-wide base composition changes following domestication and understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying this process in maize and soybean. Recently, a consistent genome divergence pattern that domesticated accessions build their genomes with more nucleotide A and T than wild progenitors were discovered. By focusing on the base-composition value summarized from polymorphic sites, we found the divergence in base-composition value between domesticated and wild accessions is larger in nongenic than genic part of the genome, and the divergence is significantly enlarged in pericentromeric regions. With motif frequency and sequence context analyses, we found the enrichment of motifs related to solar-UV signature in nongenic and pericentromeric regions, particularly when they are methylated, suggesting the important role of solar-UV radiation and methylation in genome divergence between domesticated and wild accessions. Findings from this research establish the important links among UV radiation, mutation, DNA repair, methylation, and genome evolution. In addition, I also work on evaluating an unmanned aerial vehicle based high throughput filed phenotyping platform. Advanced high throughput phenotyping methods can assess plant phenotypes on a large scale and high speed, which will help us establish the relationship between plant phenotype and genotype, and greatly improve our capacity in answering critical biological questions.
B.S., Biotechnology, Shandong Agricultural University, China, 2012