Lena Hileman

Primary office:
Haworth Hall


Dr. Hileman's research focuses on understanding the evolution of plant development with a focus on floral diversification.

Why is there such an amazing diversity of flower form? One reason is that flowers have been shaped over evolutionary time by selective pressures imposed through plant-pollinator interactions. However, in order for different floral forms to evolve, changes must occur in the underlying genetic programs that specify flower developmental patterning. In my lab we study how these flower developmental programs have evolved, through changes in gene number, gene expression and protein function, to pattern differences in flower form between species. This field of research is called developmental evolution or “evo-devo”. To address questions of flower developmental evolution, we take a number of diverse approaches including phylogenetic studies, molecular developmental genetic approaches, and studies of molecular evolution.

Selected Publications

  • Wessinger, C. A., Rausher, M. D., and Hileman, L. C. 2019. Adaptation to hummingbird pollination is associated with reduced diversification in Penstemon. Evolution Letters (5): 521-533. doi:10.1002/evl3.130
  • Katzer, A. M., Wessinger, C. A., and Hileman, L. C. 2019. Nectary size is a pollination syndrome trait in Penstemon. New Phytologist (1): 377-384. doi:10.1111/nph.15769
  • Sengupta A, Hileman LC. 2018. Novel traits, flower Ssmmetry, and transcriptional autoregulation: New hypotheses from bioinformatic and experimental data. Front Plant Science 26: 9:1561. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01561.
  • Colicchio, J. M., Kelly, J. K., and Hileman, L.C. 2018. Parental experience modifies the Mimulus methylome. BMC Genomics 19(1): 746.  doi: 10.1186/s12864-018-5087-x.
  • Wessinger, C. A., Kelly, J.K., Jiang, P., Rausher, M. D., Hileman, L. C. 2018. SNP-skimming: A fast approach to map loci generating quantitative variation in natural populations.  Molecular Ecology Resources 18(6): 1402-1414. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12930
  • Zhong, J., Preston, J., Hileman, L., and Kellogg, E. 2017. Repeated and diverse losses of corolla bilateral symmetry in the Lamiaceae. Annals of Botany 119: 1211-1223. doi:10.1093/aob/mcx012
  • Wessinger, C.A., Hileman, L.C. 2016. Accessibility, constraint, and repetition in adaptive floral evolution. Developmental Biology doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.05.003.
  • O’Meara, B.C., Smith, S.D., Armbruster, W.S., Harder, L.D., Hardy, C., Hileman, L.C., Hufford, L., Litt, A., Magallon, S., Smith, S.A., Stevens, P.F., Fenster, C.B., Diggle, P.K. 2016. Nonequilibrium dynamics and floral trait interactions shape extant angiosperm diversity.
  • Wessinger, C.A., Freeman, C.C., Mort, M.E., Rausher, M.D., Hileman, L.C. 2016. Multiplexed shotgun genotyping resolves species relationships within the recently radiated North American genus Penstemon. American Journal of Botany 103:912-922. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1500519.
  • Preston, J C, S A Jorgensen, R Orozco, and L C Hileman. "Paralogous SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) genes differentially regulate leaf initiation and reproductive phase change in petunia." Planta 243: 429-40. doi:10.1007/s00425-015-2413-2. ISSN: 0032-0935. PMID: 26445769
  • Colicchio, J M, F Miura, J K Kelly, T Ito, and L C Hileman. "DNA methylation and gene expression in Mimulus guttatus." BMC genomics 16 (7 July 2015): 507. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1668-0. PMID: 26148779 PMCID: PMC4492170
  • Colicchio, J M, P J Monnahan, J K Kelly, and L C Hileman. "Gene expression plasticity resulting from parental leaf damage in Mimulus guttatus." New Phytologist 205, no. 2 (January 2015): 894-906. doi:10.1111/nph.13081
  • Preston, J.C., Barnett, L.L., Kost, M.A., Oborny, N.J., Hileman, L.C. 2014. Optimization of virus-induced gene silencing to facilitate evo-devo studies in the emerging model species Mimulus guttatus DC. (Phrymaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 99:301-312.
  • Wessinger, C.A., Hileman, L.C., Rausher, M.D. 2014. Identification of major QTLs underlying floral pollination syndrome divergence in Penstemon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369(1648) doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0349.
  • Hileman, L.C. 2014. Trends in flower symmetry evolution revealed through phylogenetic and developmental genetic advances. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369(1648). doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0348
  • Hileman, L.C. 2014. Bilateral flower symmetry – how, when and why? Current Opinion in Plant Biology 17:146-152.
  • Brockington, S. F., R. Alvarez-Fernandez, J. B. Landis, K. Alcorn, R. W. Walker, M. M. Thomas, L. C. Hileman, and B. J. Glover. 2013. "Evolutionary analysis of the MIXTA gene family highlights potential targets for the study of cellular differentiation" Molecular Biology and Evolution. 30. 526-540.
  • Baker, R. L., L. C. Hileman, and P. K. Diggle. 2012. "Patterns of shoot architecture in locally adapted populations are linked to intraspecific differences in gene regulation" New Phytologist. 196. 271-281.
  • Preston, J. C. and L. C. Hileman. 2012. "Parallel evolution of TCP and B-class genes in Commelinaceae flower bilateral symmetry" EvoDevo. 3. 6.
  • Landis, J. B., L. L. Barnett, and L. C. Hileman. 2012. "Evolution of petaloid sepals independent of shifts in B-class MADS box gene expression" Development, Genes and Evolution. 222. 19-28.
  • Preston, J. C., L. C. Hileman, and P. Cubas. 2011. "Reduce, reuse, and recycle: Developmental evolution of trait diversification" American Journal of Botany. 98. 397-403.
  • Preston, J. C., C. C. Martinez, and L. C. Hileman. 2011. "Gradual disintegration of the floral symmetry gene network is implicated in the evolution of a wind-pollination syndrome" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 108(6). 2343-2348.
  • Scoville, A. G., L. L. Barnett, S. A. Bodbyl-Roels, J. K. Kelly, and L. C. Hileman. 2011. "Differential regulation of a MYB transcription factor is correlated with transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of trichome density in Mimulus guttatus" New Phytologist. 191. 251-263.
  • Preston, J. C. and L. C. Hileman. 2010. "SQUAMOSA-PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN 1 initiates flowering in Antirrhinum majus through the activation of meristem identity genes" The Plant Journal. 62. 704-712.
  • Hileman, L. C. and V. F. Irish. 2009. "More is better: The uses of developmental genetic data to reconstruct perianth evolution" American Journal of Botany. 96. 83-95.
  • Preston, J. C. and L. C. Hileman. 2009. "Developmental genetics of floral symmetry evolution" Trends in Plant Science. 14(3). 147-154.
  • Preston, J. C., M. A. Kost, and L. C. Hileman. 2009. "Conservation and diversification of the symmetry developmental program among close relatives of snapdragon with divergent floral morphologies" New Phytologist. 182(3). 751-762.



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