Welcome to the Doyle Laboratory web page.
Jeffrey (Jeff) J. Doyle is a professor at the University of Cornell with appointments in the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics. The laboratory is located in the 5th floor of the Mann library Building, on the Cornell Campus.
Understanding the patterns and processes of polyploid evolution is the central theme of our lab. We focus on polyploidy in natural plant species (and occasionally artificial, laboratory-induced polyploids), addressing a wide range of questions in the areas of comparative genomics and phylogenetics. Students and post-docs in the lab come from a variety of backgrounds including bioinformatics, molecular biology, evolutionary biology and systematics.
What does polyploidy mean to the plant? At the molecular level, we know that polyploidy (often accompanied by hybridization in allopolyploids) can have immediate and profound effects on genome structure and gene regulation. At the other end of the organizational spectrum, it has long been observed that many polyploid species are weedier, more widespread, more adaptable, and overall more “successful” than their diploid progenitors. Changes at the molecular level manifest themselves in such phenotypic differences as larger cell sizes and higher levels of photosynthesis per cell in polyploids.
Among flowering plants, there are a handful of model systems that have been studied intensively to understand various aspects of polyploid evolution. From these there is beginning to emerge an idea that there are “rules” governing polyploid evolution, including at the molecular level (e.g., which kinds of genes are retained vs. lost after genome-wide duplication). Each model has its strengths and weaknesses, and only through increasing the number of examples will we refine our understanding of why polyploidy is such a prevalent evolutionary mechanism in plants.