June 2012: PhD in Evolutionary Genetics. Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.
June 2008: MSc in Conservation Genetics. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.
June 2005: B.S. in Botany. College of Life Sciences, Shanxi Normal University, China.
7/ 2012- 01/ 2015: Research Assistant, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Ecological Evolution Group;
01/2015- : Associate Professor, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Ecological Evolution Group
1 Genetics of hybrid speciation and divergence
Pinus densata is a successful homoploid hybrid species (HHS) that occupies vast areas of heterogeneous terrain on the southeastern Tibetan Plateau which both of its parental species are excluded. To shed light on how this species colonized and became established on the plateau, we surveyed paternally inherited chloroplast (cp) and maternally inherited mitochondrial (mt) DNA variation in and among 52 populations of P.densata and its putative parental species. A putative ancestral hybrid zone was detected, and the route of colonization onto the plateau was defined.
Understanding the process of divergence in homoploid hybrid species requires quantitative characterization of pivotal evolutionary parameters. My major work focused on reconstructing the demographic history of P. densata. I used 8 nuclear loci and applied isolation-with-migration model and standard coalescent approach to understand the demographic history of P. densata during its origin and its colonization of vast territories. Analytical methods such as DnaSP, Structure, IMa2, ms, ABC, HKA, Arlequin, and bottleneck were used. I determined the timeframe of the divergence of P. densata lineages, and quantified the gene flow and population size variation during speciation and colonization. My study, for the first time, detailed the complex speciation history of an ancient homoploid species of multiple origins, which facilitates understanding the mechanism of HHS, and also contributes to our understanding of the origin and maintenance of biological diversity on the Tibetan Plateau.
2 Genome-wide SNP discovery and genotyping
Conifers have large and complex genomes. To develop an efficient way to explore the genome structure and divergence in conifers, we applied the next-generation sequencing to develop genome-wide SNP markers for the construction of genetic linkage maps in the P. densata complex.
3 Molecular Evolution of gene family
For the purposes of studying the molecular evolution of LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) gene family in Populus trichocarpa (Angiosperm) and Pinus tabuliformis (Gymnosperm), we combined thorough molecular evolutionary analysis, such as the gene copy number and structure variation, gene expression pattern, gene conversion events, to reconstruct the history of gene duplication and to assess the pattern selection.
RESEARCH AND INTERESTS NOW:
Understanding how populations adapt to their local environment. We propose a comprehensive study to investigate the genomic adaptations driven by environmental factors in the tropical and subtropical tree complex using RAD and GBS technology.
Ecology, Evolution biology
1. Song Y, Jie Gao* Fengxi Yang, Chai-shian Kua, Jingxin Liu, Charles H. Cannon . (2013) Molecular Evolutionary analysis of the Alfin-Like Protein family in Arabidopsis lyrate, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Thellungiella halophila. PLOS One 8: e66838. (*Corresponding author)
2. Song Y and Jie Gao* (2013) Genome-wide analysis of WRKY gene family in Arabidopsis lyrata and comparison with Arabidopsis thaliana and Populus trichocarpa. Chinese Science Bulletin. 59:754-765. (*Corresponding author)
3. Ting Lan, Jie Gao and Qing-Yin Zeng (2013) Genome-wide analysis of the LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) protein gene family in Populus trichocarpa. Tree Genetics & Genomes 9:253－264.
4. Jie Gao, Baosheng Wang, Jian-Feng Mao, Pär Ingvarsson, Qing-Yin Zeng, and Xiao-Ru Wang (2012) Demography and speciation history of the homoploid hybrid pine Pinus densata on the Tibetan Plateau. Molecular Ecology 19:4811-4827.
5. Jie Gao, Tian-Hua He, Qiao-Ming Li (2012) Traditional home-gardens and conservation of genetic diversity – a case study of Acacia pennata in southwest China. Conservation Genetics 13:891－898.
6. Baosheng Wang, Jian-Feng Mao, Jie Gao, Wei Zhao and Xiao-Ru Wang (2011) Colonization of the Tibetan Plateau by the homoploid hybrid pine Pinus densata. Molecular Ecology 20:3796-3811. (co-1st author)