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Washington State University Molecular Plant Sciences


Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences. Ph.D. 2005, Indiana University


Inbreeding avoidance mechanisms are thought to play a major role in determining the viability and diversification of plant lineages. Members of the laboratory therefore study the short and long term effects of inbreeding on populations and the process of evolution. Flowering plants are excellent models for these questions because they display broad variation between complete outcrossing and self-fertilization. Current research focuses on three major themes: 1) the evolution and breakdown of self-incompatibility in plants; 2) population-genomic consequences of self-fertilization; and 3) the conservation genetics of endemic species. In each of these areas, my lab employs polymorphic genetic markers, studies in natural populations, and manipulative greenhouse experiments to elucidate the evolutionary processes that maintain or transform genetic diversity in the wild.

I am currently accepting graduate students with interests in evolutionary biology and genetics. Graduate students have the option to work on some of the lab’s organisms (e.g. Leavenworthia), but are also free to explore their own ideas and interests in other systems. Interested students should contact me via email at to discuss the possibility of joining the lab.


Selected Publications

Busch, J.W., S. Joly and D.J. Schoen. Demographic signatures accompanying the evolution of selfing in Leavenworthia alabamica. Molecular Biology and Evolution (submitted).

Busch, J.W. and L. Urban. Insights gained from 50 years of studying the evolution of self-compatibility in Leavenworthia. Evolutionary Biology (in press).

Busch, J.W. Demography, pollination and Baker’s law. Evolution (in press).

Busch, J.W., S. Joly and D.J. Schoen. 2010. Does mate limitation in self-incompatible species promote the evolution of selfing? The case of Leavenworthia alabamica. Evolution 64:1657-1670.

Busch, J.W., C.R. Herlihy, L. Gunn* and W.J. Werner*. 2010. Mixed mating in a recently derived self-compatible population of Leavenworthia alabamica (Brassicaceae). American Journal of Botany 97:1005-1013.

Busch, J.W., J. Sharma and D.J. Schoen. 2008. Molecular characterization of Lal2, an SRK-like gene linked to the S-locus in the wild mustard Leavenworthia alabamica. Genetics 178:2055-2067.

Busch, J.W. and D.J. Schoen. 2008. The evolution of self-incompatibility when mates are limiting. Trends in Plant Science 13:128-136.

Schoen, D.J. and J.W. Busch. 2008. On the evolution of self-fertilization in a metapopulation. International Journal of Plant Sciences 169:119-127.