Understanding the processes that accompany or facilitate the origin of phenotypic novelty in nature has always been of great interest to biology, but the molecular and computational tools required to address these long-standing questions have become available only recently. The advent of genomic and post-genomic science holds great promise for students of organismal evolution. We focus our research on plants, because plant diversity provides the foundation for life on Earth and plants display a multitude of fascinating adaptations, reproductive strategies, and biotic interactions. Plants are also highly amenable to evolutionary genetics research, e.g. they can easily be crossed and their sessile nature facilitates the estimation of fitness effects (the ‘adaptive value’) of individual traits, chromosomal segments, and even genes and their regulatory networks in the wild. A particularly exciting aspect of current plant evolutionary genomics & systematics is the ease with which cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies and high-performance computing can help answer key questions in ecology & evolution, such as the drivers of speciation and entire species radiations. Read more...