Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
National Taiwan University

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Chun-Neng Wang, Professor (王俊能 教授)

Title: Professor

Education: Ph.D. Edinburgh University & Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, U.K.

Interest: Flower Evo-Devo, Reproductive biology, Plant functional genomics, Pollination ecology, Adaptive evolution and Phylogeography

E-mail: LEAFY@ntu.edu.tw

Lab: Life Science Building R1204

Tel: +886-2-33664537

Fax: +886-2-23686750

Website: http://homepage.ntu.edu.tw/~leafy/

Research Interests

  1. Morphogenesis and developmental genetics of flower shape, anisocotyly and bulbils
  2. Phylogeography of East Asia relic gymnosperm and endemic angiosperm species
  3. The Evo-Devo of microRNA in flower symmetry development

Lab Introduction: Expertise in Plant Evo-Devo-Eco

  1. The evolution of floral bilateral symmetry create flower diversity, the Darwin’s ‘abominable mystery’, and facilitate plant-pollinator interaction for reproductive success. I thus have taken an evo-devo approach on studying the developmental genetics of floral bilateral symmetry (zygomorphy) in Darwin's Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa) using artificial crossings to identify the association of candidate genes and the corresponding phenotypes. I also take on the technical challenges to validate gene functions by developing the stable genetic transformation protocol in S. speciosa. With the available genome sequence and RNA-seq data, we identified differentially expressed genes between dorsal and ventral petals of zygomorphic S. speciosa in understanding the developmental module of floral symmetry. To validate downstream genes controlling flower shape which are potentially activated by the major regulator of floral symmetry (CYCLOIDEA gene), we managed to develop protoplast transient expression system using downstream gene promoter-reporter constructs to confirm they can be activated by CYCLOIDEA.
  2. I study the phylogeography, speciations and adaptations of East Asia endemic species, especially relic gymnosperms, disjunctly distributed flowering plants and ferns, by investigating their genetic variations in population level, using reconstructed phylogeny and caulescent models to infer their phylogeographic relationship and to detect signature of selection in molecular level to infer species adaptation.
  3. I evaluate reproductive success of endangered species using pollination experiments to infer their strategies for survival. I also investigate the pollination effectiveness of alpine flora by recording their phenology and corresponding visitors. I have students studied flower color diversity along different elevations of mountain range in Taiwan.


My laboratory has taken an evo-devo-eco approach on: (1) understanding the developmental genetics of flower shape and inflorescence initiation in respects to floral symmetry and shoot apical meristem function; We elaborated Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa) and Titanotrichum as models allowing agrobacteria transformation and VIGS to functionally analyze floral symmetry and phase transition genes; (2) resolve the phylogeographic patterns, speciations and adaptations of East Asia endemic species, especially relic gymnosperms, disjunctly distributed flowering plants and ferns, by integrating evidences from genetic variations in population level, phylogenetic analysis and selection in molecular level. (3) Investigate pollination syndrome, flower color, and corresponding pollinators along altitudinal gradient of mountains of subtropical island, Taiwan. Fig. 1 The Wild-Type African violet (middle) has dorsal (adaxial/upper part) two petals smaller than other petals. It was found that CYC expressed dorsally to restrict the growth size of dorsal petals. However, in human selected cultivars, dorsalized actinomorphy (DA, left) and ventralized actinomorphy (VA, right), their CYC expressions either extend to all petals so all petals are equally small in size (DA, left), or greatly reduced in dorsal petals so all petals are equally enlarged in size (VA, right). Note that the stamen development is also affected by shifts of CYC expression, In Wild-Type, dorsal (upper) three stamens are aborted due to the restriction of CYC in dorsal part of the flower. In DA, the extended expression of CYC to all petals makes all stamens aborted (pistil only). In VA, the greatly reduced expression of CYC in dorsal part (DIV effect extended to the whole flower) enable all 5 stamens developed but the dorsal most stamen is slightly small than other stamens. This finding demonstrate that the regulation shift of CYC expression can govern floral symmetry transition between zygomorphy (bilateral symmetry Wild Type) and actinomorphy. From Hsu et al. (2018) Frontier in Plant Science 9:1008 Fig. 2 Distributions of chloroplast haplotypes of Taxus mairei over SE China, Taiwan and Philippines. The introgression (existence) of Chinese haplotype 1 & 2 in Taiwanese population M & H, respectively, implied the colonization (gene flow) from SE China to Taiwan. While the existence of Taiwanese haplotype 5 in population AP in Mindanao, Philippine, implied the introgression (gene flow) from Taiwan to Philippines. The data thus infer the colonization of Taxus mairei from SE China, Taiwan to Philippines. From Kuo HC et al. manuscript in preparation Fig. 3 Floral reflectance spectrum of two closely related alpine Viola: (a) Viola adenothrix var. tsugitakaensis (black curve) and (b) Viola biflora (yellow curve). Not only their flower colors are different, the V. biflora even contains UV light reflectance peaks. The color divergence of same genus species in alpine Taiwan is quite common perhaps reflecting the fact that color divergence is to avoid competition for same pollinators. The arrows indicated the inflection points. From Dai KC et al. manuscript in preparation

Technology Applied

Works are especially on non-model African violet family (Gesneriaceae) emphasized the technical challenges of getting transient, stable transformation and developing genomic resources to study gene regulation and function on a variety of floral and inflorescence forms. Our recent evo-devo progress mainly on studying the developmental genetics of floral bilateral symmetry in Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa) and African violet (Saintpaulia velutina) by artificial crossings for genetic analysis. Also, we have long interests on studying the inflorescence phase transition by floral reversion to bulbils inflorescence in Titanotrichum oldhamii. The strategies include using Scanning Electron Microscopy, Micro dissection, real-time PCR and in-situ hybridizations to examine candidate genes’ expression patterns, Bioinformatics/Transcriptome Analysis, tissue culture and Genetic transformation. My lab members currently work on the evolution and comparative expression of floral transcription factors belonging to the TCP-CYC-TB1 gene families, inflorescence and meristem identity genes. We also developed a transformation protocol in S. speciosa allowing functional analysis of these developmental genes. We aim to elaborate Gesneriaceae species as a model to gain insight into the evolution of body plans and various life history traits that exemplify vascular plants.

Our lab members also works on East Asia endemic fern, gymnosperm and Gesneriaceae species (Conandron ramondioides) phylogeography to understand the genetic relations of Taiwanese populations to that of adjacent mainlands to understand the speciation of island flora and how topographic variations of Taiwan have enhanced niche diversification for species adaptation. Techniques employed in these topics include phylogenetic analysis and population genetics tools. We also study the evolution of reproductive strategies of rare Gesners such as autonomous selfable C. ramondioides, bird pollinated Aeschynanthus acuminate and orchids such as Gastrodia flexistyla, Eulophia pelorica and Listera species to understand the mechanism of plant-pollinator interaction

Fig. 4. A collecting trip of Taxus mairei in central mountain ridges of Taiwan in year 2010

Current Projects

With the available genome sequence, we compared differentially expressed RNA-seq data between dorsal and ventral petals of zygomorphic and actinomorphic S. speciosa in hoping to identify developmental modules downstream and activated by CYC (dorsally expressed in zygomorphic wild-type) or without CYC (10 bp deletion in actinomorphic cultivar), work currently by Dr. Zhao-Jun Pan and MSc student, Ms. Jocelin Muliawan . In addition, we also identified dorsal-ventral differentially expressed microRNA and validated their putative targets by degradome sequencing. In cooperation to Dr. Ho-Ming Chen at ABRC and Dr. Shih-Lung Tu at the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology (IPMB), Academia Sinica. We, especially the efforts from my MSc student, Ms. Nien Ya-Chi, managed to identified unexpected microRNA (miR390 & miR157) which are preferentially expressed in ventral petals and their targets ARF3 and SPL, respectively, which previously known to have functions on auxin regulated cell growth (e.g. leaf adaxial/abaxial polarity) and cell size/phase transition. Thus floral zygomorphy is possibly a co-option (exaptation) of leaf polarity and phase transition developmental module, which is never reported in previous papers. We further extend our collaboration on exploring the function of the land plants conserved mir390-TAS3-ARF pathway in first land, Liverwort, with Prof. Takayuki Kohchi at Kyoto University for the past two years. By doing so, we shall realize how the ancestral role of miR390 pathway on plant development and why it is such important in adaptively evolved different function in various land plant lineages including floral symmetry. Fig. 5 Expression of MpmiR390 and MpTAS3 on gemma cup observed during thalli development, indicating they play essential roles in gemma development.

Courses offered

EEB5035演化生物學 Evolutionary Biology
EEB5079親緣地理分析 Phylogeographic analysis
EEB5052植物分子發育及演化 Plant molecular evolution and development
EEB5019維管束植物形態與演化 Morphology and evolution of vascular plants
LS1004普通生物學甲(生科系)、乙(醫學系) General Biology
LS1002服務學習二、三(讓世界聽見玉山的聲音-原聲音樂學校山地學童課輔 Student service
LS1003熱帶植物保育-辜嚴倬雲保種中心 Tropical plant conservation
LS4009發生生物學實驗 Lab of developmental biology
ME4116現代科技與人類文明 Modern technology and civilization
Prog5116專題研究 research topics


* denotes corresponding author 

Chen KH, Lu JY, Wang CN* (2019) Specialized pollination system of Aeschynanthus acuminatus (Gesneriaceae) by generalist passerines in sunbird-absent East Asia. Scientific Reports 9:17552.

Leebens-Mack JH, Barker MS, Carpenter EJ,…Wang CN,…, et al. One Thousand Plant Transcriptomes Initiative (2019). One thousand plant transcriptomes and the phylogenomics of green plants. Nature 574: 679–685.

Huang B-H , Nishii K, Wang CN, Moller M (2019). Quantitative assessment of anisocotyly in Haberlea rhodopensis and Ramonda myconi. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 76: 377-391.

Hsin KT, Lu JY, Möller M, Wang CN* (2019) Gene duplication and relaxation from selective constraints of GCYC genes correlated with various floral symmetry patterns in Asiatic Gesneriaceae tribe Trichosporeae. Plos One 14(1): e0210054 hsin2019-gcyc-duplication.pdf

Hsin KT, Wang CN* (2018) Expression shifts of floral symmetry genes correlate to flower actinomorphy in East Asia relic Conandron ramondioides (Gesneriaceae). Botanical studies. 59:24 hsin-wang2018-conandron_cyc.pdf

Hsu HJ, He CW, Kuo WH, Hsin KT, Lu JY, Pan Z, Wang CN* (2018) Genetic analysis of floral symmetry transition in African Violet suggest involvement of trans-acting factor for CYCLOIDEA expression shifts. Frontiers in Plant Science. 9:1008 hsu2018-african_violet.pdf

Kuo WH, Hung YL, Wu HW, Pan ZJ, Hong CY, Wang CN* (2018) Shoot regeneration process and optimization of Agrobacterium mediated transformation in Sinningia speciosa. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture: 1424-7 kuo2018-sinningia_transformation.pdf

Kuo LY, Ebihara A, Hsu TC, Rouhan G, Huang YM, Wang CN*, Chiou WL, Kato M (2018) Infrageneric Revision of the Fern Genus Deparia (Athyriaceae, Aspleniineae, Polypodiales). Systematic Botany. 43: 645-655 kuo2018-systematic.pdf

Kuo LY, Tang TY, Li FW, Su HJ, Chiou WL, Huang YM, Wang CN* (2018) Organelle Genome Inheritance in Deparia Ferns (Athyriaceae, Aspleniineae, Polypodiales). Frontier in Plant Science. 9: 486 kuo2018-frontier.pdf

Kuo LY, Ebihara A, Kato M, Rouhan G, Ranker TA, Wang CN*, Chiou WL (2018) Morphological characterization of infra-generic lineages in Deparia (Athyriaceae: Polypodiales). Cladistics. 34: 78-92 kuo2018-cladistics.pdf

Hsu HC, Hsu KL, Chan CY, Wang CN, Kuo YF (2018). Quantifying colour and spot characteristics for the ventral petals in Sinningia speciosa. Biosystems Engineering. 167: 40-50 hsu2018-colour_sinningia.pdf

Li YS, Chang CT, Wang CN, Thomas P, Chung JD, Hwang SY (2018) The Contribution of Neutral and Environmentally Dependent Processes in Driving Population and Lineage Divergence in Taiwania (Taiwania cryptomerioides). Frontiers in Plant Science. 9:1148 li2018-taiwania-frontier.pdf

Liu J, Milne RI, Möller M, Zhu GF, Ye LJ, Luo YH, Yang JB, Wambulwa MC, Wang CN, Li DZ, Gao LM (2018) Integrating a comprehensive DNA barcode reference library with a global map of yews (Taxus L.) for forensic identification. Molecular Ecology Resources. 18:1115–1131. liu2018-taxus.pdf

Huang CT, Hsin KT , Wang CN, Liu CT, Kao WY (2018) Phylogenetic analyses of Bradyrhizobium symbionts associated with invasive Crotalaria zanzibarica and its coexisting legumes in Taiwan. Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 41: 619-628 huang2018-crotalaria.pdf

Hsu HC”, Wang CN”, Wang CC, Liang CH, Wang, CC, Kuo YF (2017) Association between petal form variation and CYC2-like genotype in a hybrid Line of Sinningia speciosa. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8:558 ” Co-first author hsu2017-cyc2-sinningia.pdf

Chen YY, Nishii K, A Spada, Wang CN, Sakakibara H, Kojima M, Wright F, MacKenzie K, Möller M (2017) Cytokinin biosynthesis ISOPENTENYLTRANSFERASE genes are differentially expressed during phyllomorph development in the acaulescent Streptocarpus rexii (Gesneriaceae). South African Journal of Botany. 109:96-111. chen2017_sajb_ipt.pdf

Nishii K, Huang BH, Wang CN, Möller M (2017) From shoot to leaf: step-wise shifts in meristem and KNOX1 activity correlate with the evolution of a unifoliate body plan in Gesneriaceae. Development Genes and Evolution. 227:41-60. nishii2017-_knox1.pdf

Lee YI, Chung MC, Kuo HC, Wang CN, Lee YC, Lin CY, Jiang H, Yeh CH (2017) The evolution of genome size and distinct distribution patterns of rDNA in Phalaenopsis (Orchidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 185:65-80. lee2017-phal_genome.pdf

Su MH, Hsu TH, Wang CN, Lin KH, Chiang MC, Kang RD, Nguyen KM, Nguyen H (2017). Genetic Diversity of a Novel Oil Crop, Camellia brevistyla, Revealed by ISSR DNA Markers. Korean Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology 35: 588-598 su2017-camelia-issr.pdf

Kuo HC, Soisook P, Ho YY, Csorba G, Wang CN, Rossiter S (2017) A taxonomic revision of the Kerivoula hardwickii complex (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) with the description of a new species. Acta Chiropterologica. 19: 19-39. kuo2017-chiroptera.pdf

Kuo LY, Ebihara A, Shinohara W, Rouhan G, Wood KR, Wang CN*, Chiou WL (2016 ) Historical biogeography of the fern genus Deparia (Athyriaceae) and its relation with polyploidy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 104:123-134. kuo2016_-_biogeography_deparia.pdf

Kuo LY, Chang YH, Glowienka JMO, Amoroso VB, Dong SY, Kao TT, Wang CN*, Chiou WL (2016) A Revised Framework of Dryopteris subg. Nothoperanema (Dryopteridaceae) Inferred from Phylogenetic Evidence, with Descriptions of Two New Sections. Systematic Botany. 41:596-605. kuo2016_-_dryopteris.pdf

Wang CN, Hsu HC, Wang CC, Lee TK, Kuo YF (2015) Quantifying floral shape variation in 3D using microcomputed tomography: a case study of a hybrid line between actinomorphic and zygomorphic flowers. Frontiers in Plant Science. 724: 6 hsu2015-sinningia2d.pdf

Yang CY, Huang YH, Lin CP, Lin YY, Hsu HC, Wang CN, Liu LYD, Shen BN, Lin SS (2015) MicroRNA396-Targeted SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE Is Required to Repress Flowering and Is Related to the Development of Abnormal Flower Symptoms by the Phyllody Symptoms1 Effector. Plant Physiology. 168: 17021716 yang2015-mi396.pdf

Hsu HC, Chen CY, Lee TK, Weng LK, Yeh DM, Lin TT, Wang CN*, Kuo YF (2015) Quantitative analysis of floral symmetry and tube dilation in an F2 cross of Sinningia speciosa. Scientia Horticulturae. 188: 71-77. hsu2015-sinningia2d.pdf

Nishii K, Ho MJ, Chou YW, Gabotti D, Wang CN*, Spada A, Möller M (2014) GA2 and GA20-oxidase expressions are associated with the meristem position in Streptocarpus rexii (Gesneriaceae). Plant Growth Regulation. 72: 123-140 nishii2014-ga.pdf

Zhang WY, Kuo LY, Li FW, Wang CN*, WL Chiou (2014) The hybrid origin of Adiantum meishanianum (Pteridaceae): A rare and endemic species in Taiwan. Systematic Botany. 39, 1034-1041 zhang2014-adiantum.pdf

Pan ZJ, Chen YY, Du JS, Chen YY, Chung MC, Tsai WC, Wang CN, Chen HH (2014) Flower development of Phalaenopsis orchid involves functionally divergent SEPALLATA-like genes. New Phytologist. 202, 1024-1042 pan2014-sep.pdf

Hsieh YC, Chung JD, Wang CN, Chang CT, Chen CY and Hwang SY (2013) Historical connectivity, contemporary isolation, and local adaptation in a widespread but discontinuously distributed species, Rhododendron oldhamii, endemic to Taiwan. Heredity. 111: 147-156.

Huang CT, Hsieh CF, Wang CN* (2013) Remusatia yunnanensis (Araceae): A Newly Recorded Species in Taiwan. Taiwania. 58:76-79. huang2013-remusatia.pdf

Nishii K, Wang C-N, Spada A, Nagata T, Möller M. (2012) Gibberellin as a suppressor of lateral dominance and inducer of apical growth in the unifoliate Streptocarpus wendlandii. New Zealand Journal of Botany 50: 267-287 nishii2012-ga_nzjb.pdf

Nishii K, Nagata T, Wang C-N, Möller, M.(2012) Light as environmental regulator for germination and macrocotyledon development in Streptocarpus rexii (Gesneriaceae). South African Journal of Botany 81: 50-60. nishii_et_al_2012_sajb.pdf

Chen CW, Kuo, LY, Wang C-N, Chiou WL(2012) Development of PCR primer sets for intron 1 of the low-copy gene leafy in Davalliaceae. American Journal of Botany 99: e223-225.

Chou YW, Thomas PI, Ge XJ, Lepage BA, Wang CN*(2011) Refugia and phylogeography of Taiwania in East Asia. Journal of Biogeography 38: 1992-2005 chou2011-taiwania.pdf

Kuo LY, Li FW, Chiou WL, Wang CN* (2011) First insights into fern matK phylogeny. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 556-566 kuo2011-fern-matk.pdf

Nishii K, Möller M, Kidner C, Spada A, Mantegazza R, Wang C-N, Nagata T(2010) A complex case of simple leaves: Indeterminate leaves co-express ARP and KNOX1 genes. Development Genes and Evolution 220: 25-40 nishii2010.pdf

Li FW, Kuo LY, Huang YM, Chiou WL, Wang CN* (2010) Tissue-direct PCR, a rapid and extraction-free method for barcoding of ferns. Molecular Ecology Resources 10: 92-95 li2010-tissuepcr-mer.pdf

Nishii K, Nagata T, Wang CN* (2009) High morphological plasticity in Gesneriaceae meristems: Reversions in vegetative and floral development. Trends in Developmental Biology 4: 33-40 nishii-wang2008-rev.pdf

Li FW, Tan BC, Buchbender V, Moran RC, Rouhan G, Wang CN* , Quandt D(2009) Identifying a mysterious aquatic fern gametophyte. Plant Systematics and Evolution 281: 77-86. li2009-mysterious_fern-pse.pdf

Lin YH, Hwang SY, Hsu PY, Chiang YC, Huang CL, Wang CN, Lin TP.(2008) Molecular population genetics and gene expression analysis of duplicated CBF genes of Arabidopsis thaliana. BMC Plant Biology 8: 111.

Wang CN*, Chen YJ, Chang YC, Wu CH(2008) A step-by-step optimization guide for applying tissue specific RNA in-situ hybridization to non-model plant species. Taiwania 53: 383-393 wang-ish-taiwania.2008.53.4.383.pdf

Wang CN*, Möller M, Cronk QCB (2004a) Population genetic structure of Titanotrichum oldhamii (Gesneriaceae), a subtropical bulbiliferous plant with mixed sexual and asexual reproduction. Annals of Botany 93: 201-209 titano-aob-rapd.pdf

Wang CN*, Möller M, Cronk QCB (2004b) Aspects of sexual failure in the reproductive process of a rare bulbiliferous plant, Titanotrichum oldhamii (Gesneriaceae), in subtropical Asia. Sexual Plant Reproduction 17: 23-31 sexplant-17-23-31.pdf

Wang CN*, Möller M, Cronk QCB (2004c) Phylogenetic position of Titanotrichum oldhamii (Gesneriaceae) inferred from four different gene regions. Systematic Botany 29: 407-418 wang-sysbot.pdf

Wang CN*, Möller M, Cronk QCB(2004d) Altered expression of GFLO, the Gesneriaceae homologue of FLORICAULA/LEAFY, is associted with the transition to bulbil formation in Titanotrichum oldhamii. Development Genes and Evolution 214: 122-127 gflo-dge.pdf

Wang CN*, Cronk QCB(2003) Meristem fate and bulbil formation in Titanotrichum (Gesneriaceae). American Journal of Botany 90: 1696-1707 ajb-1696-1707.pdf

en/cnwang/start.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/17 08:31 by 王俊能 (Chun-Neng Wang)