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Washington State University Molecular Plant Sciences


Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences. Ph.D. 2005, Indiana University
Jeremiah Busch.


We are biologists who seek to understand and explain biodiversity. To reach this goal, we challenge hypotheses with simple models, analyses of DNA sequence variation, information on traits, and manipulative studies in natural populations. These efforts help to elucidate the processes that shape patterns of organismal diversity in the wild.

Our projects mostly dissect the causes and consequences of evolution. We are particularly interested in traits that influence the magnitude and expression of genetic variation in natural populations (e.g. selfing and ploidy). Using plants as model systems, most work centers on these themes: 1) mechanisms that facilitate or constrain the evolution of self-fertilization; 2) the short- and long-term consequences of transitions in ploidy; and 3) the outcome of evolution when diverse lineages co-occur or hybridize in nature.

To prospective students

Students with broad interests in biology, an independent streak, and curiosity in the feedback between theory and empirical work are always welcome. Members of the lab encourage each other to take a question-driven approach that furthers our collective understanding of evolutionary processes. Check out the people page for more information on student projects.

Find us on campus
Eastlick 390 (The lab)
Eastlick 387 (Jeremiah’s office; phone = 509-335-0086; email = jwbusch[at]

Selected publications (* = WSU undergrad or grad student; # = WSU postdoc)
Layman*, N.C. and J.W. Busch. 2018. Bottlenecks and inbreeding depression in autotetraploids. Evolution (

Koski†, M.H., D.L. Grossenbacher#†, J.W. Busch and L.F. Galloway. 2017. A geographic cline in the ability to self-fertilize is unrelated to the pollination environment. Ecology 98:2930-2939.                                            [†Authors Contributed Equally]

Dixon*, A.L. and J.W. Busch. 2017. Common garden test of range limits as predicted by a species distribution model in the annual plant Mimulus bicolor. American Journal of Botany 104:817-827.

Grossenbacher#†, D.L., Y. Brandvain†, J. Auld, M. Burd, P.O. Cheptou, J.K. Conner, A.G. Grant, S. Hovick, J.R. Pannell, A. Pauw, T. Petanidou, A. Randle, R. Rubio de Casas, J.Vamosi, A. Winn, B. Igic†, J.W. Busch†, S. Kalisz† and E.E. Goldberg†. 2017. Self-compatibility is over-represented on islands. New Phytologist 215:469-478.  [†Authors Contributed Equally]

Layman*, N.C., M.T.R. Fernando, C.R. Herlihy and J.W. Busch. 2017. Costs of selfing prevent the spread of a self-compatibility mutation that causes reproductive assurance.  Evolution 71:884-897.                     [Highlighted by a Digest in Evolution]

Harder, L.D., M.A. Aizen, S.A. Richards, M.A. Joseph* and J.W. Busch. 2016. Diverse ecological relations of male gametophyte populations in stylar environments.  American Journal of Botany 103:484-497.

Pannell, J.R., J. Auld, Y. Brandvain, M. Burd, J.W. Busch, P.O. Cheptou, J.K. Conner, E.E. Goldberg, A.G. Grant, D.L. Grossenbacher#, S. Hovick, B. Igic, S. Kalisz, A. Pauw, T. Petanidou, A.M. Randle, R. Rubio de Casas, J. Vamosi and A. Winn. 2015. The scope of Baker’s Law. New Phytologist 208:656-667.    [Tansley Review]

Norton*, N.A., M.T.R. Fernando, C.R. Herlihy and J.W. Busch. 2015. Reproductive character displacement shapes a spatially structured petal color polymorphismin Leavenworthia stylosa. Evolution 69:1191-1207.  [Issue Cover]

Igic†, B. and J.W. Busch†. 2013. Is self-fertilization an evolutionary dead end? New Phytologist 198:386-397.
[†Authors Contributed Equally, Tansley Review]

Dixon*, A.L., C.R. Herlihy and J.W. Busch. 2013. Demographic and population-genetic tests provide mixed support for the abundant centre hypothesis in the endemic plant Leavenworthia stylosa. Molecular Ecology 22:1777-1791.

Herman, A.C., J.W. Busch and D.J. Schoen. 2012. Phylogeny of Leavenworthia S-alleles suggests unidirectional mating system evolution and enhanced positive selection following an ancient population bottleneck. Evolution 66:1849-1861.

Busch, J.W. and L.F. Delph. 2012. The relative importance of reproductive assurance and automatic selection as hypotheses for the evolution of self-fertilization. Annals of Botany 109:553-562.

Busch†, J.W., S. Joly† and D.J. Schoen. 2011. Demographic signatures accompanying the evolution of selfing in Leavenworthia alabamica. Molecular Biology and Evolution 28:1717-1729.   [†Authors Contributed Equally, F1000 recommendation]

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.

Schoen, D.J. and J.W. Busch. 2009. The evolution of dominance in sporophytic self- incompatibility systems. II. Mate-availability and recombination. Evolution 63:2099-2113.

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.