Yangzi Wang

PhD Student

© Yangzi Wang

Plant Adaptation-in-action Group
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity
Hüfferstr. 1
D-48149 Münster, Germany

Tel.: +49 251/83-21016

Nationality: Chinese Cn


  • Since 2019:
    PhD studies in the Plant Adaptation-in-action Group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2016:
    Master of Science Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (M.Sc.), Kunming University of Science and Technology, China
  • 2013:
    Bachelor of Science in Biology (B.Sc.), Sichuan University, China

Work Experience

  • 2018-2019
    Group Leader at Yunnan Branch of Agricultural Application Research Institute, BGI, Kunming, China
  • 2016-2018
    Bioinformatician at Yunnan Nowbio Biotech. Co., Ltd., Kunming, China
  • 2014-2016
    Graduate Researcher and Bioinformatics Analyst at Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, Kunming, China


  • Prof. Dr. Shuqing Xu, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Susann Wicke, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Philipp Schlüter, Institute of Botany, University of Hohenheim

Research interests

  • Plant adaptive evolution
  • Evolutionary genomics
  • Bioinformatics

PhD project description

Adaptive evolution of plants to environmental change – either natural or human-mediated - shaped the global biodiversity and can profoundly affect the development of human societies. A classic example is the rapid increase of herbicide resistance in weeds, which threatens worldwide crop yields. The mechanisms of herbicide resistance mechanisms are classified into two types: target-site resistance (TSR), which is caused by changes in the herbicide target protein, and non-target site resistance (NTSR), which includes all other mechanisms. Recent studies suggested that NTSRs arises from standing genetic variations that are associated with adaptation to natural stresses. However, due to the lack of suitable model system in which the detailed molecular mechanisms and ecological functions of NTSR can be characterized, this hypothesis remains largely unexamined. Here, I will use the giant duckweed, Spirodela polyrhiza, as a model system to investigate the resistance to glyphosate and diquat, two extensively used herbicides, which are considered to be predominantly caused by NTSR. I will combine a genome-wide association approach and gene co-expression network analyses to identify the genetic basis underlying the resistance. Additionally, I will evaluate to what extend changes of the genes involved in NTSR affect the resistances to natural stresses. This
integrative study will bridge a knowledge gap in understanding the molecular mechanisms, processes and consequences of adaptation to herbicides and facilitate the development of new strategies to improve weed management.


  • Guo H, Lackus ND, Köllner TG, Li R, Bing J, Wang Y, Baldwin IT, Xu S (2020) Evolution of a Novel and Adaptive Floral Scent in Wild Tobacco. Molecular Biology and Evolution 37(4):1090-1099. 10.1093/molbev/msz292 [doi]
  • Xia Q, Pan L, Zhang R, Wang Y et al. (2019) The genome assembly of asparagus bean, Vigna unguiculata ssp. sesquipedialis. Scientific Data 6:124. 10.1038/s41597-019-0130-6 [doi]
  • Wang F, Han J, Wang L, Jing Y, Zhu Z, Hui D, Wang Z, Wang Y, Dong Y & Tan T (2017) CCCTC-Binding Factor Transcriptionally Targets Wdr5 to Mediate Somatic Cell Reprogramming. Stem Cells and Development 26:743-750. 10.1089/scd.2016.0309 [doi]
  • Okpeku M, Esmailizadeh A, Adeola AC, Shu L, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Sanni TM, Imumorin IG, Peters SO, Zhang J, Dong Y & Wang W (2016) Genetic Variation of Goat Interferon Regulatory Factor 3 Gene and Its Implication in Goat Evolution. PLoS One 11:e0161962. 10.1371/journal.pone.0161962 [doi]
  • Duan S, Ma X, Chen W, Wan W, He Y, Ma X, Ma Y, Long N, Tan Y, Wang Y & Dong Y (2016) Transcriptomic profile of tobacco in response to Alternaria longipes and Alternaria alternata infections. Scientific Reports 6:25635 10.1038/srep25635 [doi]
  • Zhang J, Tian Y, Zhang G, Wang X, Zeng Y, Zhang J, Ma X, Tan Y, Long N, Wang Y et al. (2016) Genome of Plant Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Illuminates Genomic Basis for High-Altitude Adaptation in the Central Andes. Molecular Plant 9:1066-1077 10.1016/j.molp.2016.04.016 [doi]
  • Wang Y, Wu J, Ma X, Liu B, Su R, Jiang Y, Wang W & Dong Y (2015) Single Base-Resolution Methylome of the Dizygotic Sheep. PLos One 10:e0142034. 10.1371/journal.pone.0142034 [doi]