Jonathan F. Wendel is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University. He earned his BS in Botany from the University of Michigan (1976) and MS (1980) and PhD (1983) degrees from the University of North Carolina. He was the inaugural and long-term Chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (2003) and served in this capacity until 2017. His contributions have been recognized in all three major domains of professorial life: Master Teacher, for his role as graduate mentor and educator; Distinguished Professor, for research accomplishments; and Outstanding Achievement in Departmental Leadership, for leadership excellence. Awards include his election as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America, Distinguished Scholar of the Crop Science Society of America, and election to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and US National Academy of Sciences, among other awards.

Research Interests

Dr. Wendel’s research centers on mechanisms underlying plant genomic and phenotypic diversification, with a special focus on the phenomenon of whole genome doubling, or polyploidy. Most of his work utilizes the cotton genus (Gossypium) as a model system, in which two diploid and two polyploid species were each independently domesticated thousands of years ago. This natural evolutionary diversification, followed by parallel strong directional selection under domestication, provides a framework for exploring the comparative basis of domestication, the origin of form and of diversity in nature, and the evolutionary consequences of genome doubling. His work addresses the myriad genomic consequences of allopolyploidy, where two diverged diploid genomes become reunited in a common nucleus, setting in motion diverse evolutionary processes, including intergenomic gene conversion, homoeolog expression bias, duplicate gene coregulation and expression dominance, biased fractionation, and divergent evolutionary trajectories of duplicated networks.

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Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology