Zhang Lab

Plant Bioinformatics and Functional Epigenomics Group


We are particularly interested in applying high-throughput technology to explore interesting and fundamental biological questions. Our current research has three major foci.

1. Dissect the genomic and epigenomic mechanisms underlying the benefits of polyploidy in wheat.

Both polyploidization and domestication are the major forces shaping current crop genomes. We are integrating high-throughput technologies and genetic experiments to characterize the major genomic and epigenomic changes during wheat polyploidization and domestication, and the ultimate goal is to reveal the mechanism underlying the benefits of polyploidy.

2.Develop methods, tools and platforms for high-throughput sequencing-aided gene mapping in wheat.

Mining genes controlling important agronomic traits and in-depth analysis of regulatory mechanisms are important scientific issues facing the wheat "post-genome" era. However, the large and complex genome and relatively difficult genetic manipulation posse big challenge to gene mining and regulatory mechanism dissection. We are improving and developing new experimental and computational methods by integrating the big data information, in order to locate key genes and the regulatory elements, and further eliminate the regulatory mechanisms.

3. Reveal the molecular mechanisms determining the specificity of epigenetic regulation in response to developmental and environmental changes.

Plant epigenetic complexes generally have a large number of factors with functional redundancy, which are unable to directly bind DNA sequences. Thus, it is difficult to study their specific regulatory mechanisms. We developed methods and platforms for integrated analysis of high-throughput data, and identified a series of cis-elements and trans-acting factors that regulate the specificity of epigenetic factors, which have been successively verified by multiple experiments.