Lab news


April 2023

Our Spirodela polyrhiza population genomics paper is now accepted by Communications Biology. This is great team work from Yangzi, Pablo and other co-authors. Congratulations to all for your great work. A short take-home is: Natural selection can drive changes in reproduction (sexual vs asexual), which then affect genomic and epigenomic diversity in the population.


March 2023

Abhisek CHAKRABORTY | Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal, Bhopal | IISER | Department of Biological Sciences | Research profile

Dr. Abhisek Chakraborty arrived Mainz. He will officially the plant-x group on 2nd April. He will work on the EvoMet project, aiming to understanding how novel metabolites evolve in plants. We will work together with our Prof. Emmanuel Gaquerel's group on this project. Welcome to the team Abhisek!


December 2023

Two papers were accepted in one week. Congratulations to Laura, Antonino, Alitha, Pablo and all co-authors.

The preprint of these two papers can be found here:


November 2023

We are delighted to receive the funding for EvoCommunity project from ERC consolidate grant. If you are interested in understanding how organisms evolve in natural community, come and work with us in Mainz.


November 2023

Our DFG-ANR joint project is funded. We are delighted to hear from DFG and ANR that our EVOMET proposal is funded:

We are recruiting postdocs and PhD student working on the evolution of novel plant metabolites using a multi-omics approach.


September 2023

Kris joined the group as a PhD student. After completing his master’s degree at the University of Hamburg, Kris will use synthetic biology tools to understand the evolution of plant metabolic in novelties. Welcome Kris!





June 2023

To better get to know old and new group members and to get familiar with the city of Mainz, we made a group event. We started with a sightseeing tour through Mainz. Subsequently, we went together for bowling and finished the day at an Asian restaurant.


May 2023

Himrekha joined the group as a PhD student. She received her master's degree from the University of Mumbai, India. She will work on the mechanisms underlying neurotoxin self-tolerance and its evolution in Colorado Potato Beetles. Welcome Himrekha!





August 2022

It was a great experience to join the ISCE-2022 meeting. It was wonderful to chat with many excellent scientists and students. It was also a great honor to receive the early career award. It belongs to the whole team.


July 2022

Léonore joined the group for her PhD. She is part of GenEvo research training group. She will work on the evolution of a neurotoxin in Colorado potato beetles. Welcome Léonore!





June 2022

Dr. Nijat Narimanov joined our group as a postdoc. He is part of NC3 initiative. He will investigate the role of niche choice on host plant adaptation using an experimental evolution approach.

Welcome, Nijat!

May 2022

Many group members joined the 6th International Conference on Duckweed Research and Applications in Gartersleben, Germany. Martin Schäfer also won the best poster prize, and Alexandra gave a great talk (almost won the best talk prize, 2nd best). Congratulations to both.


April 2022

We are officially at JGU Mainz. We are looking forward to working with new colleagues.



December 2021

Antonino will leave us for an offer from the University of Reggio Calabria. We are sad that he is leaving us, but also happy for his successful career development. We will still work together on the projects.


November 2021

Great to hear the positive feedback from DFG that the second phase of NC³ initiative is funded. It was a great experience during the last two years in the NC³ and we look forward to a fun and productive 4-year in NC³.
We are recruiting 1 PhD and 2 postdocs, working on single-cell genomics and experimental evolution. More information can be found here.

Join the group
PhD position (evolutionary genetics)
Postdoc position 1 (Evolutionary single cell genomics) - download call
Postdoc position 2 (Evolutionary ecology - download call

October 2021

After nearly four years of wonderful time at WWU Münster, we will move to JGU Mainz in April 2022. We will recruit new PhD students and postdocs soon.

August 2021

Lanlan’s paper on the pleiotropic singling between flower development and herbivory-induced responses is accepted by FPS. Congratulations to Lanlan and other co-authors.
The paper can be accessed here

July 2021

A review paper from the duckweed community is now published in The Plant Cell. Here, we highlighted the great potential of using the duckweed as a model system to answer excellent questions in evolutionary ecology.
The paper can be accessed here

May 2021

Antonino joined the group. Antonino is a molecular ecologist interested in the evolutionary ecology of plant-herbivore-microbe interactions. He will use tools from molecular biology, high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics to understand the role of herbivores and microbes in driving plant evolution. Welcome to the group, Antonino!


May 2021

Pablo Duchén joined the Xu lab.

Pablo works on the evolution of adaptation, using both a genomic and a phenotypic approach. He will lead a team to investigate the genomic signature associated with insecticide resistance, a relevant example of rapid adaptation. Welcome to the group, Pablo!


April 2021

Congratulations to Thomas Schacker on his bachelor thesis

Thomas did a wonderful job on his BSc thesis. Congratulations and good luck in your further career, Thomas!

January 2021

Congratulations to Samuel Wink on his bachelor thesis. Samuel successfully finished his BSc thesis in our group. He will further on stay with us as a student helper. Congratulations, Samuel!

January 2021

One paper is published in Science. Great teamwork with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. I am deligControlled Hydroxylations Of Diterpenoids Allow For Plant Chemical Defense Without Autotoxicityhted to see this paper published now.
For the full paper, please click here.Online article on WWU news page (english)
Online article on WWU news page (german)



November 2020

Great news from the editor of Science. Excellent team work! Looking forward to seeing the paper in print soon.


November 2020

A new project is now funded by DFG. We will study the evolution of Colorado potato beetle and its insecticide resistance. A junior group leader position will be available soon.


September 2020

Congratulations to our bachelor students

Despite this difficult time, Fabio, Milena and Maximillan did a wonderful job for their bachelor thesis. Congratulations to all of you!


September 2020

A new project is funded by DFG to study how microbes and herbivores together shape plant evolution. New postdoc and PhD positions will soon be available. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact us.


August 2020

Snails eat duckweeds, we eat the cake.
A wonderful birthday cake from Marie.

Img 4361


June 2020

Paper News Agxu 16 06 20
Coevolution of floral signals and indirect defences in plantsA new paper is now published in New Phytologist. Read more here.

February 2020

20-02 Xu-news
Evolution of an adaptive and novel floral volatile. Our new paper is now published in MBE. Read more here.






December 2019

News 19-12-02

Xu group is climbing.

November 2019

News 19-11-29
Alitha Edison joined the group. Welcome, Alitha.

June 2019

A new project in the group is funded by DFG.

June 2019

Machine Learning

New publication on alternative splicing evolution in plants. Read more here.

June 2019

Our first team-building event. Teamwork makes dreams work.

Teamevent 2019