Claude Becker 

Genomics and epigenomics of plant-plant and plant-environment interactions

Research focus

Plants almost always grow in a community with other plants. They must therefore compete with their neighbors for limited resources such as nutrients, water, light, and space. Our research group is interested in a very special competition strategy in which plants produce and release chemical compounds to prevent their neighbors from growing. We want to understand how these chemicals act in the plant, how they influence the complex community of soil-dwelling bacteria and fungi, and how some species manage to tolerate the presence of these toxic compounds.

Selected publications

Wibowo A, Becker C, Durr J, et al. (2018) Partial maintenance of organ-specific epigenetic marks during plant asexual reproduction leads to heritable phenotypic variation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115(39):E9145-52.

Alonso C, Ramos-Cruz D, Becker C (2018) The role of plant epigenetics in biotic interactions. New Phytol [epub].

Exposito-Alonso M, Becker C, Schuenemann VJ, et al. (2018) The rate and potential relevance of new mutations in a colonizing plant lineage. PLoS Genet 14(2):e1007155.

Venturelli S, Belz RG,..., Becker C (2015) Plants Release Precursors of Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors to Suppress Growth of Competitors. Plant Cell 27(11):3175-89.

Becker C, Hagmann J, Müller J, et al. (2011) Spontaneous epigenetic variation in the Arabidopsis thaliana methylome. Nature 480(7376):245-9.