Image of flowers and their development

One of the most intriguing questions in biology is how molecular evolution alters developmental programs that shape morphology. The pursuit of this interest involves utilizing comparative methods that integrate phylogenetic, molecular, and morphological studies to determine the origin and evolution of novel floral traits in flowering plants within the context of a well-established developmental genetic framework. The work in the Zhang Lab has also tried to resolve how developmental networks and environmental pressures imposed by insect pollinators shape the evolutionary outcomes. We hope our research will contribute to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of evolution, particularly as it relates to changes in floral form in response to plant-insect interactions.