Latest News

Congratulations, Dr. Verena Kottler!

Posted on May 22, 2015

Verena successfully defended per PhD thesis today! read more

Its title: 'Pigment cell organization and genetic analysis of color pattern formation in the guppy’

Congratulations, Verena!

Farewell to Markus

Posted on May 18, 2015

After 15 years in Weigelworld - first as a post-doc in San Diego, later as a group leader in Tübingen - Markus will move North and start his new lab at the Umeå Plant Science Center. We wish you all the best! read more

Read more about Markus' research here

Weigelworld Retreat 2015

Posted on May 11, 2015

We spent two days discussing future research directions - follow the link below to see some pictures. read more

Nature Review Genetics: Comparative genomics of Arabidopsis relatives

Posted on April 10, 2015

Beyond the thale: comparative genomics and genetics of Arabidopsis relatives. read more

Koenig D, Weigel D.

For decades a small number of model species have rightly occupied a privileged position in laboratory experiments, but it is becoming increasingly clear that our knowledge of biology is greatly improved when informed by a broader diversity of species and evolutionary context. Arabidopsis thaliana has been the primary model organism for plants, benefiting from a high-quality reference genome sequence and resources for reverse genetics. However, recent studies have made a group of species also in the Brassicaceae family and closely related to A. thaliana a focal point for comparative molecular, genomic, phenotypic and evolutionary studies. In this Review, we emphasize how such studies complement continued study of the model plant itself, provide an evolutionary perspective and summarize our current understanding of genetic and phenotypic diversity in plants.

Nature Plants: Reduced symmetric DNA methylation in Arabis alpina

Posted on February 25, 2015

Genome expansion of Arabis alpina linked with retrotransposition and reduced symmetric DNA methylation read more


Willing E. M., Rawat V., Mandáková T., Maumus F., James G. V., Nordström K., Becker C., Warthmann N., Chica C., Szarzynska B., Zytnicki M.,Albani M., Kiefer C., Bergonzi S., Castaings L., Mateos J. L., Berns M. C., Bujdoso N., Piofczyk T., de Lorenzo L., Barrero-Sicilia C., Mateos I.,Piednoël M., Hagmann J., Chen-Min-Tao R., Iglesias-Fernández R., Schuster S. C., Alonso-Blanco C., Roudier F., Carbonero P., Paz-Ares J.,Davis S. J., Pecinka A., Quesneville H., Colot V., Lysak M. A., Weigel D., Coupland G. and Schneeberger K. 

Despite evolutionary conserved mechanisms to silence transposable element activity, there are drastic differences in the abundance of transposable elements even among closely related plant species. We conducted a de novo assembly for the 375 Mb genome of the perennial model plant, Arabis alpina. Analysing this genome revealed long-lasting and recent transposable element activity predominately driven by Gypsy long terminal repeat retrotransposons, which extended the low-recombining pericentromeres and transformed large formerly euchromatic regions into repeat-rich pericentromeric regions. This reduced capacity for long terminal repeat retrotransposon silencing and removal in A. alpina co-occurs with unexpectedly low levels of DNA methylation. Most remarkably, the striking reduction of symmetrical CG and CHG methylation suggests weakened DNA methylation maintenance in A. alpina compared with Arabidopsis thaliana. Phylogenetic analyses indicate a highly dynamic evolution of some components of methylation maintenance machinery that might be related to the unique methylation in A. alpina.

Upcoming Events


Talk by Stefanie Dukowic-Schulze


Detlef leaving to the US

June 1 - Sept 6, 2015


MiKo Carl-Philipp Heisenberg

June 3, 2015, 3 p.m.
MPH Lecture Hall

Title: TBA


EMBO workshop 'Mechanisms of Plant Speciation'

June 9-13, 2015
Stockholm, Sweden.

Detlef in Sweden, co-organizing the EMBO workshop 'Mechanisms of Plant Speciation'