PhD Defence Konrad Weber

Evolution in regulatory n​​etworks coordinating development and defense chemistry​


Natural variation is driven by local adaptation and of great importance for the persistence of a species. Plants, limited in their ability to evade challenging environments, are under great pressure to survive and reproduce in their particular environment. Thus, local adaption is thought to play a key role in the evolution of novel ecotypes. However, the specific adaption to one desired environment may result in performance trade-offs in other environments. The underlying genetics and action of regulatory networks are constantly challenged and potentially reshaped. Understanding the mechanisms facilitating natural variation to come about thereby depends on investigating how regulatory networks and their underlying genetics are shaped by the surrounding environment.

This thesis focused on a specific genetic region in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome coding for enzymes responsible for the modification of the defense compound glucosinolates. The AOP locus harbors two enzyme-coding genes, AOP2 and AOP3, known to shape the glucosinolate profile. Glucosinolates display great variability across populations, and this variation is substantially dependent on the allelic status of the AOP locus. We investigated whether additional functional units, in the form of long-non-coding RNAs (lnc RNAs) that also originate from this locus, or the genetic region itself underwent recurrent structural diversification to obtain phenotypic diversity.


Associate Professor Meike Burow, Molecular Plant Biology

Assessment committee:​​

Professor Eric Schranz, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Senior Research Scientist Jürgen Kroymann, Université Paris-Saclay, France
Associate Professor Stephan Wenkel, Plant Biochemistry (chair)

Reception afterwards in the 117 rooms​​, Thorvaldsensvej 40