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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

Photo of Cynthia Weinig

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 externally funded projects focus on understanding 1) the transcriptomic and physiological mechanisms by which growth is promoted by the rhizosphere microbiome in Brassica rapa (NSF), 2) the effects of host plant genetic pathways on microbial community composition and the ecological consequences of microbial communities within the state of Wyoming (NSF), 3) the role of the circadian clock in adaptation to heterogeneous natural settings in Arabidopsis thaliana and Boechera stricta (NSF), and 4) the influence of shade-avoidance responses on yield in sugar beet (USDA).

Recent Publications

Baker, R.L., F. Leong, S. Welch, and C. Weinig. 2018. Mapping and predicting non-linear Brassica rapa growth phenotypes based on Bayesian and frequentist complex trait estimation. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, in press. 

Guadagno, C.R., B.E. Ewers, C. Weinig. 2018. Circadian rhythms and redox state in plants: till stress do us part. Frontiers in Plant Science, in press

Rubin, M.J., M. T. Brock , R. L. Baker, S. Wilcox, K. Anderson, S. J. Davis, and C. Weinig. 2018. Circadian rhythms are associated with shoot architecture in multi-year field studies. New Phytologist, in press.

Salmela, M.J., R. L. McMinn, C. R. Guadagno, B. E. Ewers, and Cynthia Weinig. 2018. Circadian rhythms and reproductive phenology covary in a natural plant population. Journal of Biological Rhythms, in press

Baker, R.L., W. F. Leong, N. An, M.T. Brock, M.J. Rubin, S.M. Welch, and C. Weinig. 2017. Bayesian estimation and high-throughput remote sensing indices for quantitative genetic analyses of plant development. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, DOI: 10.1007/s00122-017-3001-6

Hubbard, C., M.T. Brock, L. van Diepen, B.E. Ewers, L. Maignien, and C. Weinig. 2017. The plant circadian clock influences rhizosphere community structure and function. ISME J, DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2017.172

An, N., S.M. Welch, R.J.C. Markelz, R.L. Baker, C.M. Palmer, J. Ta, J.N. Maloof, and C. Weinig. 2017. Quantifying time-series of leaf morphology using 2D and 3D photogrammetry methods for high-throughput plant phenotyping. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 

Baker, R.L., Y. Yarkhunova, K. Vidal, B.E. Ewers, and C. Weinig. 2017. Polyploidy and the relationship between leaf structure and function: implications for correlated evolution of anatomy, morphology, and physiology in Brassica. BMC Plant Biology, DOI: 10.1186/s12870-016-0957-3

Brock, M.T., R. Winkelman, M.J. Rubin, C.E. Edwards, B.E. Ewers, and C. Weinig. 2017. Allocation to male vs female floral function varies by currency and responds differentially to density and moisture stress. Heredity, doi: 10.1038/hdy.2017.41

Greenham, K., C.R. Guadagno, M.A. Gehan, T.C. Mockler, C. Weinig, B.E. Ewers, and C.R. McClung. 2017. Temporal network analysis identifies early physiological and transcriptomic indicators of mild drought in Brassica rapa. eLife, doi: 10.7554/eLife.29655

Guadagno, C.R., B.E. Ewers, H.N. Speckman, T.L. Aston, B.J. Huhn, S.B. DeVore, J.T. Ladwig, R. N. Strawn, and C. Weinig. 2017. Dead or alive? Using membrane failure and chlorophyll fluorescence to predict mortality from drought. Plant Physiology, DOI:

Kerwin, R., J. Feusier, A. Muok, C. Lin, B. Larson, D. Copeland, J. Corwin, M.J. Rubin, M. Francisco, B. Li, B. Joseph, C. Weinig, and D.J. Kliebenstein. 2017. Epistatic by environment interactions among Arabidopsis thaliana glucosinolate genetic impact traits and fitness in the field. New Phytologist, doi: 10.1111/nph.14646

Markelz, R.J.C., M.F. Covington, M.T. Brock, U.K. Devisetty, D.J. Kliebenstein, C. Weinig, J.N. Maloof. 2017. Using RNA-Seq for genomic scaffold placement, correcting assemblies, and genetic map creation in a common Brassica rapa mapping population. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics,

Rubin, M.J., M.T. Brock, M. Knapp, S.M. Welch, S.L. Harmer, J.N. Maloof, S.J. Davis, and C. Weinig. 2017.  Circadian phenotypes vary across seasonal environments and correlate with fitness components. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/mec.14287 

An, N., 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,

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.13534

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 

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

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 

Yarkhunova, Y., C. Edwards, B.E. Ewers, R.L. Baker, and C. Weinig. 2015. Selection during domestication affects the circadian clock and the expression of ecophysiological traits in Brassica rapa. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.13758
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Department of Botany, 3165

Aven Nelson Room 114

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 1-307-766-2384

Fax: 1-307-766-2851


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