Chen Hengchi

Predoctoral fellow @ Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Genomics

My research interests focus on the ecological and evolutionary significance of polyploid (as well as Whole Genome Duplication, WGD). There is a large body of literature depicting the functional and evolutionary innovation and potential conferred by WGD, while some report that WGD could be detrimental and deadly. The debate of the ecological and evolutionary significance of polyploidy suggests that the consequence of being a polyploid largely depends on the ecological condition that the polyploid is inhabiting and coping with. Recent studies show that there is a nonrandom pattern of WGD occurence across the evolutionary timeline of diverse species, for example a recent research elucidated that a wave of successful genome duplications is associated with the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary in the analysis of 41 plant genomes. The association between WGD and massive extinction events (glaciation events, etc.) provides strong evidence that WGD is an important evolutionary force for survival and success, especially in extreme environments. For now, the confirmed association reported in literature is quite limited in taxa sampling and reliability. I'm trying to build a reliable WGD dating system to explore connections between WGD and massive extinction events in more lineages (mainly angiosperms). The commonness of WGD accumulating around the boundary of massive extinction events across the tree of life would be a powerful argument for the selective advantage of WGD in harsh environments.

Contact information

Office: Technologiepark 71, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium
Office Phone: +32(0)93313824