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Diana E. Wolf
Associate Professor
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Office: WRRB 240
Lab: WRRB 2nd floor genetics lab


Diana Wolf

Diana Wolf


  • B.A., Biology, College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, 1993
  • Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, Indiana University, 2001


Teaching: Principles of Genetics BIOL F260

Lab Members

Current Editorial Work: Associate Editor AoB PLANTS

Research Interests:

I am interested in Evolutionary Genetics: the genetic basis of evolutionary change and adaptation. Much of my work uses a small Beringian plant called Arabidopsis kamchatica. To facilitate the study of adaptation in this species, we are investigating the origins and distribution of diversity. Flow cytometry and DNA sequence data suggest that the species originated via genome doubling, and hybridization between two diploid species that occur in Asia and eastern Russia. This type of speciation is called allotetraploid speciation. During this speciation event, A. kamchatica seems to have switched from being an obligate outcrossing species (self incompatible), to becoming self fertilizing (self compatible). That is, the self incompatibility mechanism broke down. The species seems to have subsequently spread from Eastern Russia or Asia across Beringia.

In one project, we are investigating genetic diversity self incompatibility genes in the self compatible A. kamchatica. We hope to determine when self incompatibility broke down relative to the origin of this species, and whether selection acted on the self incompatibility genes subsequent to speciation. This will help us to determine whether the breakdown of self incompatibility in conjunction with allotetraploid speciation is likely to be adaptive.

In another project, we are investigating the genetic basis of cold tolerance in A. kamchatica across the landscape. We have shown that plants from the northern edge of the distribution are more cold tolerant than plants from the southern edge of the distribution. We are planning to investigate expression levels and induction rates of genes that induce cold tolerance in plants from both edges of the species distribution to determine the genetic basis of this adaptive divergence.

Want to join the lab?


Contact information:
Diana Wolf
Institute of Arctic Biology
311 Irving I
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA

Ph: (907) 474-5538
Fax: (907) 474-6967

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Last modified: November 2014