Recognizing Plant Cell first authors: Guanghui Xu

Guanghui Xu, c0-first author of Evolutionary metabolomics identifies significant metabolic divergence between maize and its wild ancestor, teosinte

Current Position: Ph.D. student at China Agricultural University


Ph.D. candidate in Plant Genetics and Breeding, China Agricultural University

Master’s degree in Plant Genetics and Breeding, China Agricultural University

Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science and Technology, Hebei Agricultural University

Non-scientific Interests: reading, hiking, music, movie, traveling, watching TV, learning English

Brief bio: I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in plant science and technology at Hebei Agricultural University in 2012. Then I joined in the research group led by Professor Feng Tian at China Agricultural University and started my research career about maize domestication. In the first few years in Dr. Feng Tian’s lab, I focused on the morphological traits, such inflorescence and leaf size which differs a lot between maize and its wild ancestor, teosinte. We performed linkage and association analysis to dissect the genetic basis of these morphological changes during maize domestication. During my Ph.D. study, I focused on the metabolic traits, which are not visible phenotypes and certainly escape analysis. In this project, we combined evolutionary metabolomics and population genetics approaches to identify metabolites that were targeted by selection during maize domestication. Through integrating genome, transcriptome and metabolome data, we were able to identify candidate genes responsible for the metabolite divergence.