As a botanist and evolutionary biologist, I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of plant forms and flower morphology. Understanding diversification at the macro- and microevolutionary scales has long been a central goal of evolutionary biology. My research aims to understand the patterns and processes of diversfication. I combine bioinformatics, comparative genomics, phylogenomics, and developmental biology to investigate how underlying genetic networks and pathways have evolved under natural selection to produce diverse phenotypes. I am particularly interested in the evolution of floral form in the genus Achimenes (Gesneriaceae), a colorful and diverse genus native to Mexico and Central America.
Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. In Prep. Gene co-expression network connectivity is an important determinant of selective constraint during flower development in the magic flowers (Achimenes).
Roberts W.R., Crabb J., Dhingra A., Roalson E.H. In Prep. Micropropagation and Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation of Achimenes erecta (Gesneriaceae).
Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2018. Phylogenomic analyses reveal extensive gene flow within the magic flowers (Achimenes). American Journal of Botany 105(4): 1-15. [doi]
Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2017. Comparative transcriptome analyses of flower development in four species of Achimenes (Gesneriaceae). BMC Genomics 18: 240. [doi]