This research line is devoted to the study of the systematic, phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships of some plant groups, belonging to the families Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Liliaceae s.l., Papaveraceae, Saxifragaceae and Valerianaceae, with a special emphasis in the processes of hybridization, polyploid evolution and radiation. Within this line, research is divided in the following approaches, often diverse and integrated:
- Karyology. Base line within the group. We have performed many chromosome counts, particularly in plants of Asian origin, often counted in these works for the first time.
- Molecular Cytogenetics. This approach is the natural extension and evolution of the classical karyology described above. This line and the following one count on the collaboration of some colleagues, among which, particularly intensively with K. Kondo, A.A. Korobkov and E.D. McArthur. This line includes techniques such as fluorochrome banding, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and staining of nucleolus organizer regions (NOR) with silver nitrate. Inaddition, we also carry out research oriented to the study of ribosomal DNA structure and distribution and telomeric regions in different plant groups.
- Genome size. Although genome size studies could be included in the above mentioned line, we present them separately as it is innovative within the group. With those previously published and our new results we are currently developing a database on genome sizes in one of the largest and most studied botanical families, the Asteraceae.
- Palynology. This line is based on morphological studies of pollen grains with optical microscopy to determine dimensions; scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for the study of exine ornamentation and transmission optical microscopy for the study of pollen ultrastructure, particularly exine. The results of these studies are used in a descriptive way and also to support phylogenetic studies.
- Molecular phylogeny. This line is based on the analysis of DNA sequences (mainly nuclear ribosomic and chloroplastic DNA) and aims to establish phylogenetic relationships between the plant groups that we study. The main objective is to contribute to a better understanding in systematic (including taxonomy) and evolutionary aspects, and to provide solid phylogenetic frameworks for karyological and cytogenetical studies, among others.
- Statistical analyses and mathematical models. The purpose of this line is to design and carry out statistical analyses supporting all works of our group, particularly those involving genome size and phylogeny data. Although being a transversal line, it is treated here separately for having represented a significant qualitative change in the discussion of our works.
- Population and phylogeographical studies. We have recently initiated a population genetics research line (using hypervariable markers such as AFLPs, among others). These studies have been focuse in genera that we have been studying for a long time, but still need further investigation to answer specific questions about their origin and patterns of diversification.
- Evolution and development (evo-devo). This new line addresses the genetic base of morphological novelty and diversification. We focused until now on floral and inflorescence characters in the genus Echinops and the Papaveraceae s.l. family (this research is carried out in S. Gleissberg lab).