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James D. Mauseth

Mauseth, James D.
Professor

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Main Office: BIO 327 Phone: (512) 471-3189

Alternate Office: BIO 326 Phone: (512) 471-4524

Mailing Address:
The University of Texas at Austin
Section of Integrative Biology
1 University Station A6700
Austin,Texas 78712


Research Summary:
Research in my lab centers on evolution of morphogenic mechanisms and structure. We use cacti as model organisms because the family contains a great amount of structural/developmental diversity and because the cactus genus Pekeskia retains numerous relictual characters. Plants of Pereskia have hard woody stems and ordinary large leaves. From ancestors like this, morphogenic mechanisms have evolved into ones capable of controlling the differentiation of various types of highly modified wood, unusual types of cortex that have leaf-like features, and apical meristems that minimize the number of mitoses necessary to produce large plants. Because each evolutionary line in the family has undergone particular types of modification of the morphogenic mechanism, we can compare different types of differentiation of a particular tissue, each type controlled by a homologous morphogenic mechanism.