Plant evolution and strategies to inhabit arid zones


More about us:

Dra. Tania Hernández Hernández

Principal investigador

We study plant evolution with a phylogenetic perspective. We seek to explain existing patterns of plant diversity both globaly and at a local scale. We use mainly cacti and other lineages of succulents as model systems. Succulents (for example those included in the Cactaceae, Agavaceae or Crasusulaceae families) show extraordinary diversity in our country and represent an understudied genetic resource. Studying those lienages can provide information about the origin and expansion of vegetation types in Mexico, including the Mesoamerican “hotspot” zone of high biodiversity.

Additionallyt, we started a program to study the genetic and molecular basis of the origin and development of the modifications that cacti possess to inhabit arid zones (Evo-devo of cacti).

Research lines:

  • Evolution of terrestrial plants.
  • Origin and evolution of succulence in the Cactaceae and other families.
  • Historical assembly of the Mexican flora.

Recent projects:

  • Evolution of plant diversity.
  • Relationship between geographic ranges and diversification rates.
  • Evolution of climatic niches in succulent plants with CAM metabolism.
  • Evolution of ontogenetic plans of development in succulent cacti.
  • Comparative genomics in Cactaceae.

Most relevant publications:

Recent publications:

To access all publications, click the following link:

work team

Dr. Tania Hernández Hernández

Principal Investigator

Ana Karem Gudiño Cano

Research assistant

“The geography of diversification in terrestrial plants”

Dr. Marilyn Vásquez Cruz


“Evolutionary analysis of plant diversity, with emphasis on Mexican flora”

Cristina Betzabeth Miravel Gabriel

Master’s student in Plant Biotechnology

"Molecular analysis of organ development in Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)"