Marco Todesco

Assistant Professor

Academic History

  • M.Sc. University of Padova, Italy (2005)
  • Ph.D. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany (2009)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany (2010-2012)
  • Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia (2013-2017)
  • Research Associate, University of British Columbia (2018-2022)

Contact Information

  • Office: Room 319, MSL Building
  • Lab: Room 385, MSL Building

My Links

Research Interests

Plants have developed an incredible variety of strategies to survive to the different challenges they encounter in nature – harsh climates, lack of nutrients, herbivores, etc. The goal of our research is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of this adaptive diversity: how it mediates the interactions between plants and their environment, what are the genes and genetic variants controlling it, and how it can contribute to producing crops that are more sustainable, more resilient, and more productive. We do this by using a combination of genomics, quantitative genetics, molecular biology, developmental and evolutionary biology, ecology and field experiments, working mostly on sunflower and its wild relatives, and on cannabis diversity.

Selected Publications

Todesco M., Bercovich N., Kim A, Imerovski, I., Owens G.L., Dorado-Ruiz O., Holalu S.V., Madilao L.L., Jahani M., Légaré J.-S., Blackman B.K., Rieseberg L.H. (2022) Genetic basis and dual adaptive role of floral pigmentation in sunflowers. eLife, 11, e72072, doi:10.7554/eLife.72072.

Huang K., Jahani M., Gouzy J,. Legendre A., Carrere S., Lázaro-Guevara J.m., Gonzáles Segovia E.G., Todesco M., Mayjonade B, Rodde N., Cauet S., Dufau I., Staton S.E., Pouilly N., Boniface M., Tapy C., Mangin B., Duhnen A. Gautier V., Poncet C., Donnadieu C., Hübner S., Burke J.M., Vautrin S., Bellec A., Owens G.L., Langlade N, Muños S., Rieseberg L.H. (2022). The genomics of linkage drag in sunflower. PNAS, accepted for publication.

Owens G.L., Todesco M., Bercovich N., Légaré J.-S., Mitchell N., Whitney K.D., Rieseberg L.H. (2021) Standing variation rather than recent adaptive introgression likely underlies differentiation of the texanus subspecies of Helianthus annuusMolecular Ecology, 10.1111/mec.16008.

Todesco M.*, Owens G.L.*, Bercovich N.*, Légaré J.-S., Soudi S., Burge D.O., Huang K., Ostevik, K.L., Drummond, E.B.M., Imerovski, I., Lande K., Pascual-Robles M.A., Nanavati M., Jahani M., Cheung W., Staton S.E., Muños S., Nielsen R., Donovan L.A., Burke J.M., Yeaman S., Rieseberg L.H. (2020) Massive haplotypes underlie ecotypic differentiation in sunflowers. Nature, 584(7822), 602-607.

Hubner S., Bercovich N., Todesco M., Mandel J.R., Odenheiner J., Ziegler E., Lee J.S., Baute G.J., Owens G.L., Grassa C.J., Ebert D.P., Ostevik K.L., Moyers B., Yakimowski S., Masalia R.R., Calic I., Bowers J.E., Kane N.C., Swanevelder D.Z.H., Kubach T., Muños S., Langdale N.B., Burke J.M., Rieseberg L.H. (2019). Sunflower pan-genome analysis shows that hybridization altered gene content and disease resistance. Nature Plants, 5(1):54-62.

Todesco, M., Pascual, M.A., Owens, G.L., Ostevik, K.L., Moyers, B.T., Hübner S., Heredia, S.M., Hahn, M.A., Casey, C., Bock, D.G., Rieseberg, L.H. (2016) Hybridization and extinction. Evolutionary Applications, 9(7):892-908.

Todesco M., Kim S.T., Chae E., Bomblies K., Zaidem M., Smith L.M., Weigel D., Laitinen R.A.E. (2014) Activation of the Arabidopsis thaliana immune system by combinations of common ACD6 alleles. PLoS Genetics10(7), e1004459.

Todesco M., Balsubramanian S., Cao J., Ott F., Sureshkumar S. Schneeberger K., Meyer R.C., Altmann T., Weigel D. (2012) Natural variation in biogenesis of individual A. thaliana microRNA. Current Biology, 22(2), 166-170.

Todesco M.*, Balasubramanian S.*, Hu T.T., Traw M.B., Horton M., Epple P., Kuhns C., Sureshkumar S., Schwartz C., Lanz C., Laitinen R.A.E., Huang Y., Chory J., Lipka V., Borevitz J.O., Dangl J.L., Bergelson J., Nordborg M., Weigel D. (2010) Natural allelic variation underlying a major fitness trade-off in Arabidopsis thalianaNature, 465(7298), 632-636.