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Department of Botany

College of Arts and Sciences

Cynthia Weinig

Specialization: Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics

Office: Aven Nelson, 110 A

Phone: 307-766-6378


Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Indiana University
B.A., Honors Biology, Brown University
B.A., German, Brown University


Evolution of Development

Research Emphasis

The majority of variation segregating in natural populations is quantitative, and its expression depends on genetic background, environment, and interactions with these two factors. Traditionally, the evolution of quantitative traits has been described using statistical genetic techniques. However, one of the greatest advantages of these approaches is also one of their primary limitations: it is possible to estimate genetic variation and covariation in traits without any direct knowledge of the underlying loci or molecular genetic details. In like fashion, it is possible to estimate the pattern of natural selection on quantitative traits in the absence of knowledge of loci that determine fitness. Advances in collecting and analyzing molecular data promise to reveal the molecular genetic basis of quantitative trait variation. In our research, we use a combination of statistical and molecular genetic analyses to evaluate questions related to adaptation in heterogeneous natural environments.

Current Research Projects

Current research projects focus on understanding 1) genetic mechanisms of adaptation to competition and re-construction of genetic networks (NSF-funded), 2) the role of the circadian clock in the expression of ecophysiological traits and in adaptation to seasonal settings (NSF-funded), 3) the genetic basis of quantitative variation in floral morphology, and 4) transcriptomic and physiological mechanisms by which growth is promoted in plants by the rhizosphere microbiome.

Recent Publications 

Brock, M.T., L.K. Lucas, N.A. Anderson, M.J. Rubin, R.J.C. Markelz, M.F. Covington, U.K. Devisetty, C. Chapple, J.N. Maloof, and C. Weinig. 2016. Biochemical underpinnings, QTL effects, and ecological relevance of floral UV patterning. Molecular Ecology, doi: 10.1111/mec

Edwards, C.E., B.E. Ewers, and C. Weinig. 2016. Genotypic variation in biomass allocation in response to field drought has a greater effect on yield than gas exchange or phenology. BMC Plant Biology, doi: 10.1186/s12870-016-0876-3

Nan, A., C.M. Palmer, R.L. Baker, RJ C Markelz, J. Ta, J.N. Maloof, S.M. Welch, and C. Weinig. 2016. Plant high-throughput phenotyping using photogrammetry and imaging techniques to measure leaf length and rosette area. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture,

Salmela, M.J., K. Greenham, P. Lou, C.R. McClung & C. Weinig. 2016. Variation in circadian rhythms is maintained among and within populations in Boechera stricta. Plant, Cell, and Environment DOI: 10.1111/pce.12670

Salmela, M.J., B.E. Ewers, and C. Weinig. 2016. Natural quantitative genetic variance in plant growth differs in response to ecologically relevant temperature heterogeneity. Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.1002/ece3.2482.

Yarkhunova, Y., C. Edwards, B.E. Ewers, R.L. Baker, and C. Weinig. 2016. Selection during domestication affects the circadian clock and the expression of ecophysiological traits in Brassica rapa. New Phytologist doi: 10.1111/nph.13758

Baker, R.L, L.W. Fung, M.T. Brock, R.J. Markelz, M.F. Covington, U.K. Devisetty, J.N. Maloof, S.M. Welch, and C. Weinig. 2015. Modeling growth and quantitative trait mapping reveal independent genetic modules for leaf size and shape in Brassica rapa. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.13509

De Montaigu, A., M.J. Rubin, A. Giakountis, R. Toth, V. Sokolova, F. Cremer, A. Porri, M. Reymond, C. Weinig, and G. Coupland. 2015..Natural diversity in the diurnal waveform of GIGANTEA expression influences Arabidopsis growth. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1422242112

Kerwin, R., J. Feusier, J. Corwin, M. Rubin, C. Lin, A. Muok, B. Larson, B. Li, B. Joseph, M. Francisco, D. Copeland, C. Weinig, and D.J. Kliebenstein. 2015. Natural genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana defense metabolism genes modulates field fitness. eLife doi: 10.7554/eLife.05604

Xie, Q., P. Lou, V. Hermand, R. Aman, H.J. Park, D-J Yun, W-Y Kim, M.J. Salmela, B.E. Ewers, C. Weinig, S.L. Khan, D. Loring, P. Schaible, and C.R. McClung. 2015. Allelic polymorphism of GIGANTEA is responsible for naturally occurring variation in circadian period in Brassica rapa. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1421803112

Dechaine, J.M., M.T. Brock, and C. Weinig. 2014. QTL architecture of reproductive fitness in Brassica rapa. BMC Plant Biology doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-66

Dechaine, J.M., M.T. Brock, and C. Weinig. 2014. Maternal environmental effects of competition influence evolutionary potential in rapeseed (Brassica rapa). Evolutionary Ecology doi: 10.1007/s10682-014-9735-6

Weinig C., S.M. Welch, and B.E. Ewers. 2013. Ecological genomics of local adaptation to climate. Current Opinion in Plant Biology doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2014.02.007

Dechaine, J.M.,M.T. Brock, F. Iniguez-Luy, and C. Weinig. 2013. Quantitative trait loci × environment interactions for plant morphology vary over ontogeny in Brassica rapa. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.12520

Brock, M.T., P.X. Kover, and C. Weinig. 2012.  Natural variation in GA1 associates with floral morphology in Arabidopsis thaliana.  New Phytologist 195 : 58-70.

Edwards, C.E., B. E. Ewers, C.R McClung, and C. Weinig. 2012. Quantitative variation in water-use efficiency across watering regimes and its relationship with circadian, vegetative, reproductive, and leaf gas-exchange traits.  Molecular Plant 5 : 653-658.  

Edwards, C.E., B.E. Ewers, D. G. Williams, Q. Xie, P. Lou, X. Xu, C.R. McClung, and C. Weinig. 2011. The genetic architecture of ecophysiological and circadian traits in Brassica rapa. Genetics 189:375-390.

Edwards, CE, and C. Weinig. 2011. Trait integration and modularity in Brassica rapa across simulated seasonal settings. Heredity 106 : 661-667.    

Haselhorst, M., M. J. Rubin, C. E. Edwards, and C. Weinig.  2011. Genetic architecture of life history traits and environment-specific trade-offs. Molecular Ecology 20: 4042–4058.

Lou P., Q. Xie, X. Xu, C. Edwards, M.T. Brock, C. Weinig, and C.R. McClung. 2011. Genetic architecture of the circadian clock and flowering time in Brassica rapa. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 123:397–409.

image of Cynthia Weinig

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