Dr. Jenny Xiang - Professor
Plant systematics and evolution of flowering plants
research spans a wide range of topics in plant systematics
and evolution, involving undergraduate and graduate students
as well as international collaborations. Our general research
goal is to test systematic and evolutionary hypotheses
in a phylogenetic context. We integrate information from
DNA sequences, morphology, and fossils to reconstruct the
phylogeny of plants and use the phylogeny as a basis to
elucidate the biogeographic history (e.g., time and place
of origin, time and routes of migration) and to understand
the rate and pattern of molecular and morphological evolution.
We apply molecular population genetics and phylogeographic
approaches to study evolutionary patterns and dynamics
in rare and endangered species, in natural hybrid zones,
and polyploidy species. We have also expanded our research
to evolutionary developmental genetics to understand the
molecular and developmental basis of morphological changes.
The dogwoods and their close relatives (Cornales) have
been our main focus. Other plants we have studied or are
currently studying include the buckeye genus, Aesculus,
and the federally endangered smooth coneflower, Echinacea
laevigata, and some other plants that display discontinuous
distributions in eastern Asia and eastern North America.
The main course I teach is Plant Systematics (BO 403/503, 4 credits, lab and lectures), which is offered every fall for undergraduate and graduate level students. Teaching a Plant Systematics course is extremely challenging, as systematics is a rapidly developing discipline. Presenting such an enormous body of information in one semester's time is difficult. Another challenge is the range of prior knowledge with which students enter the class. The course has been reorganized to place emphasis on modern techniques of systemic analysis, and recent discoveries, while introducing basic skills and principles to students.
Other teaching efforts:
Feng*, CM, X Liu, Y Yu, WH Zhang, DY Xie, RG Franks, and QY(J) Xiang. 2012. Independent developmental origins and divergent B-class MADS-box gene expression patterns in petaloid bracts of Cornus s. l. (Cornaceae). New Phytologist. Online: DOI:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04255.x.
Liu*, X, CM Feng, R Franks, R Qu, DY Xie, and QY(J) Xiang. 2012. Plant regeneration and genetic transformation of C. canadensis: a non-model plant appropriate for investigation of flower development in Cornus (Cornaceae). Plant Cell Reports. DOI 10.1007/s00299-012-1341-x.
Liu*, J, ZC Qi, YP Zhao, CX Fu and Q-Y(J) Xiang. 2012. Chloroplast DNA phylogenomics of Monocots – Insights into the placement of Liliales and influences of gene partitions. Mol. Phyl. Evol. 64: 545-562.
Feng*, CM, QY(J) Xiang#, RG Franks# (#Co-corresponding authors). 2011. Phylogeny-based developmental analyses illuminate evolution of inflorescence architectures in dogwoods (Cornus s. l., Cornaceae) New Phytologist. 191: 850-869.
Xiang, QY(J), DT Thomas*, and QP Xiang*. 2011. Resolving and dating the phylogeny of Cornales- effects of taxon sampling, data partitions, and fossil calibrations. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 59: 123-138.
Douglas*, NA, WA Wall*, QY(J) Xiang, WA Hoffmann, TR Wentworth, JB Gray, and MG Hohmann (2011). Recent vicariance and the origin of the rare, edaphically specialized Sandhills lily, Lilium pyrophilum (Liliaceae): evidence from phylogenetic and coalescent analyses. Molecular Ecology, 20: 2901-2915.
Wall*, AW, NA Douglas*, QY(J) Xiang, WA Hoffmann, TR Wentworth, and MG Hohmann. 2010. Evidence for range stasis during the latter Pleistocene for the Atlantic Coastal Plain endemic genus, Pyxidanthera Michaux. Molecular Ecology, 19: 4302-4314.
Manchester, SR, QY (J) Xiang, and QP Xiang*. 2010. Fruits of Cornelian cherries (Cornaceae: Cornus Subg. Cornus) in the Paleocene and Eocene of the Northern Hemisphere. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 171: 882–891.
Wen, J, Xiang, QY, Qian, H, Li, J, Wang, XQ & Ickert-Bond, SM. 2009. Intercontinental and intracontinental biogeography—patterns and methods. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 47: 327-330.
Manchester, SR, QY(J) Xiang, TM Kodrul, and M Akhmetiev. 2009. Leaves of Cornus (Cornaceae) from the Paleocene of North America and Asia confirmed by trichome characters. International Journal of Plant sciences. 170: 132–142.
Feng*, CM, SR, Manchester, QY(J) Xiang. 2009. Phylogeny and biogeography of Alangiaceae (Cornales) inferred from DNA sequences, morphology, and fossils. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 51: 201-214.
Feng*, CM, R. Qu, LL Zhou, DY Xie, and QY(J) Xiang. 2009. Shoot regeneration of dwarf dogwood (Cornus canadensis L.) and morphological characterization of the regenerated plants. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult. 97: 27-37.
Harris*, AJ and QY(J) Xiang, 2009. Estimating ancestral distributions of lineages with uncertain sister groups: a statistical approach to dispersal–vicariance analysis and a case using Aesculus L. (Sapindaceae) including fossils. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 47: 349–368.
Harris* AJ, QY(J) Xiang, and DT Thomas*. 2009. Molecular and morphological inference of the phylogeny, origin, and biogeographic History of Aesculus L. (Sapindaceae or Hippocastanaceae). TAXON 58: 1-19.
Peters*, M., QY(J) Xiang, and J Stucky. 2009. Genetic analyses of the federally endangered Echinacea laevigata using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) - Inferences in population genetic structure and mating system. Conservation Genetics. 10: 1-14.
Xiang*, QP, QY(J), Xiang, YY Guo, and XC Zhang. 2009. Phylogeny of Abies (Pinaceae) inferred from ITS sequence data. TAXON 58: 141-152.
Xiang QY(J), JL Thorne, TK Seo, WH Zhang*, DT Thomas*, RE Ricklefs. 2008. Rates of nucleotide substitution in Cornaceae (Cornales) - pattern of variation and underlying causal factors. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 49: 327–342.
Xiang QY(J) and DT Thomas*. 2008. Tracking character evolution and biogeographic history through time in Cornaceae – Does choice of methods matter? Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 46: 349-374.
Zhang*, WH, QY (J) Xiang, DT Thomas*, BM Wiegmann, MW Frohlich and DE Soltis. 2008. Molecular evolution of PISTILLATA-like genes in the dogwood genus Cornus (Cornaceae). Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution. 47: 175-195.
Thomas*, DT, AR Ahedor, CF Williams, C DePamphilis, DJ Crawford, QY(J) Xiang. 2008. Microsatellite analysis of a broad hybrid zone in Aesculus (Sapindales) – Inferences in genetic structure and evolution. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 169: 647-657.
Fan*, CZ., QY(J) Xiang, DL Remington, MD Purugganan, BM Wiegmann. 2007. Evolutionary pattern of antR-Cor gene in the dwarf dogwoods complex (Cornus, Cornaceae). Genetica 130: 19-34.
Manchester, SR, QY(J) Xiang, QP Xiang*. 2007. Curtisia (Cornales) from the Eocene of Europe and its phytogeographic significance. Botanical Journal of Linnean Soceity. 155: 127-137.
Xiang, Q.-Y. (J.), DT. Thomas*, WH Zhang*, SR. Manchester, and Z Murrell. 2006. Species level phylogeny of the Dogwood genus Cornus (Cornaceae) based on molecular and morphological evidence– implication in taxonomy and Tertiary intercontinental migration. Invited paper for the 2004 IAPT (International Association of Plant Taxonomy) symposium in Japan. TAXON 55: 9-30.
Modliszewski*, J. L., D. T. Thomas*, C. Z. Fan*, D. J. Crawford, C. W. dePamphilis, Q.-Y. (J.) Xiang. 2006. Ancestral Chloroplast Polymorphism and Historical Secondary Contact in a Broad Hybrid Zone of Aesculus (Sapindaceae). American Journal of Botany 93: 377-388.
Xiang, (J.) Q.-Y., SR Manchester, D. Thomas*, WH. Zhang*, CZ Fan*. 2005. Phylogeny, biogeography, and molecular dating of cornelian cherries (Cornus, Cornaceae) – tracking Tertiary plant migration. Evolution 59: 139-155.
Houston*, NL, CZ. Fan*, QY(J) Xiang, JM Schulze, R Jung, RS Boston. 2005. Phylogenetic analyses identify ten classes of the protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) family in plants including single-domain PDI related proteins. Plant Physiology. 137: 762-778.
Fan*, C., MD Purugganan, DT Thomas*, BM Wiegmann and Q-Y(J) Xiang. 2004. Heterogeneous evolution of the Myc-like Anthocyanin regulatory gene and its phylogenetic utility in Cornus L. (Cornaceae). Mol. Phyl. Evol. 33: 580-594.
Xiang (J) QY, WH Zhang*, RE Ricklefs, H Qian, ZD Cheng, J Wen, and JH Li. 2004. Regional differences in speciation and ITS evolution: A comparison between eastern Asia and eastern North America. Evolution. 58: 2175-2184.
Karlson, DT, (J) QY Xiang, VE. Stirm, AM Shirazi, EN Ashworth. 2004. Phylogenetic analyses in Cornus substantiate ancestry of xylem supercooling freezing behavior and reveal lineage of desiccation related proteins. Plant Physiology. 135: 1654-1665.
(Asterisks * indicate students, postdocs, visiting scholars, or technicians mentored or hosted.)