Plant Sex-Chromosomes Evolution

One of the most burning topics in Evolutionary Biology concerns the origin and evolution of sex determining systems and sex chromosomes. Traditionally, Drosophila or humans have been study models for this type of analyses. However, sex-determining systems of these organisms date to hundreds of millions of years ago, hampering the access to early stages of the evolutionary pathway, key events to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms. On the other hand, some groups of animals (especially fishes), as well as some plant species (Rumex sp., papaya, Silene latifolia), have younger sex-chromosome systems in different evolutionary stages with different coexisting mating systems (hermaphroditism, gynodioecy, dioecy). These features make plants excellent models for studies on sex determination. In this context, my main research line seek to shed light on different aspects of Reproductive Biology by using as models some plant dioecious species such as Rumex sp., papaya or pistachio. My experience can be summarized as follows: 1) participation in three consecutive I+D National Projects on sex determination in Rumex; 2) participation in two international projects on papaya genome sequencing, focusing on sex-determining region sequencing; 3) participation as PI in a project on molecular characterization of dioecious pistachio.

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