Peter Tiffin
Office Address

1445 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States



Department Head, Professor
Plant and Microbial Biology

Research in my lab is primarily focused on understanding the importance of symbiosis in shaping the evolution of legumes and rhizobia. I am also interested in the evolutionary forces that shape genomic variation and in evolution in urban environments. We use a variety of approaches including population genomics, coexpression network analyses, and empirical manipulations.

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Research interests

Research in my lab is focused on understanding how biological interactions and environmental change affect plant evolution. We use a variety of organisms (including ZeaClarkiaArabidopsisMedicago and Sinorhizobium ) and a variety of molecular and organismal approaches (including molecular population genetics, greenhouse and field studies, and quantitative genetics). I am involved currently in a variety of projects investigating i) the molecular evolution of plant immune system genes, ii) evolutionary responses to elevated CO 2 concentrations and other environmental changes, and iii) the ecological and evolutionary limits to species range expansion. I also remain interested in understanding the ecology and evolution of plant resistance and tolerance to herbivores and pathogens.

Selected publications

Tiffin, P. and D. A. Moeller. 2006.   Molecular evolution of plant immune system genes. Trends in Genetics

Moeller, D. A. and P. Tiffin. 2005. Genetic diversity and the evolutionary history of plant immunity genes in two species of Zea .   Molecular Biology and Evolution. 22: 2480-2490.

Tiffin, P, R. Hacker, and B. S. Gaut. 2004.  Population genetic evidence for rapid changes in intra-specific diversity and allelic cycling of defense genes in Zea Genetic 168:  425-434.

Tiffin, P.  2004.  Comparative evolutionary histories of chitinase genes in the genus Zea and family Poaceae. Genetics 167: 1331-1340.

Tiffin, P. 2002. Competition and time of damage affect the pattern of selection acting on plant defense against herbivores. Ecology 87: 1981-1990.

Tiffin, P., M. S. Olson, and L. C. Moyle. 2001. The genetics of reproductive isolation: asymmetric crossing barriers in Angiosperms. The Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 268: 861-867.

Tiffin, P. 2000. Are tolerance, avoidance and antibiosis evolutionarily and ecologically equivalent responses of plants to herbivores? The American Naturalist 155:128-138.

Tiffin, P. and M. D. Rausher. 1999. Genetic constraints and selection acting on tolerance to herbivory in the common morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea The American Naturalist 154: 700-716.


Ph.D. Duke University, 1999