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Waheed Arshad
PhD Research
Evolution and Adaptation

Dimorphic fruits, seeds and seedlings in Aethionema arabicum as adaptation mechanisms to abiotic stress in unpredictable environments

Diaspore heteromorphism occurs in a number of angiosperm families. One species exhibiting this phenomenon is Aethionema arabicum, an annual in the Brassicaceae. It has the remarkable ability to produce two distinct fruits, which contain two different types of seed, on the same inflorescence. This project will elucidate the morphological, biomechanical and molecular mechanisms of diasporic traits in Ae. arabicum, as well as the evolutionary diversification of heterodiaspory in other members of the Brassicaceae family. The work will build on resources and knowledge from the ERA-CAPS SeedAdapt project (, and will establish how heterodiaspory functions as a “bet-hedging” strategy in variable and unpredictable environments.
Gerhard Leubner
Wolfgang Stuppy
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