Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bergelson, Joy M.
Location New York University
Primary Field Plant Biology
Secondary Field Evolutionary Biology
 Election Citation
Bergelson is a pioneer in ecological and evolutionary genetics. Exploiting the power of plant genetics in natural settings, she has revealed how the evolutionary stalemate between plants and their microbial pathogens can persist for millions of years. In addition, she has shown how adaptation to climate shapes plant genomes.
 Research Interests
Joy Bergelson's laboratory is interested in the ecological and evolutionary forces shaping plant-pathogen coevolution. Her work blends field biology with molecular genetics and molecular evolutionary studies on the host plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and its enemies. The Bergelson lab is responsible for revealing an evolutionarily stable stalemate manifest as ancient balanced polymorphisms for resistance and susceptibility alleles segregating at many R genes in A. thaliana?s genome. Dissection of the forces driving balancing selection provided early evidence of ecological dynamics shaping patterns of molecular evolution and of ecological complexity providing constraints that enable the maintenance of genetic variability. Her laboratory has promoted the use of increased genetic controls in ecological experiments and are responsible for some of the earliest examples of designing transgenic plants to test evolutionary hypotheses, such as their demonstration of pleiotropic costs of resistance. With the goal of identifying ecologically important genes, her laboratory group has also collaborated in the development of Arabidopsis as a system for GWAS mapping and studies of natural variation. In the course of this research, she has amassed and curated thousands of accessions that provide mapping populations and have facilitated the 1001 genomes project for the Arabidopsis community.

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