Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


James H. Leebens-Mack

Professor of Plant Biology
Ph.D. (1995) University of Texas
  • Grant Support -
    • National Science Foundation (Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Inventories) “Doctoral Dissertation Research: The genomic basis of dioecy in Asparagus (Asparagaceae)” (PI with student Alex Harkess)

    • National Science Foundation (IOS Plant Genome Research Program).  “ABR-PG: Developing Flowering Dogwood as a Focal Genomic Resource for Woody Ornamentals” (PI), CJ Tsai and Magdy Alabady (UGA), Jenny Xiang (North Carolina State University) and Phil Wadl (University of Tennessee), Co-PIs.

    • National Science Foundation (DEB Dimensions of Biodiversity) “Dimensions: Collaborative Proposal: Molecular, ecological and evolutionary dynamics of carbon fixation and diversification in Agavoideae (Asparagaceae) and Oncidiinae (Orchidaceae)” (PI) Erin Dolan (UGA), Katia Silvera UC Riverside and Vic Albert (University of Buffalo), Co-PIs.

    • National Science Foundation (IOS), 2014-2017, “RUI: Collaborative: unPAK: undergraduates Phenotyping Arabidopsis Knockouts: A distributed genomic approach to examine evolutionarily important traits” (Co-PI), Matthew Rutter (PI), Courtney Murren and Allan Strand (College of Charleston), Hilary Callahan (Barnard College), Michael Wolyniak (Hampden-Sydney College), and Erin Dolan and Jennifer Jo Thompson (UGA)

    • National Science Foundation (Plant Genome Research Program), 2009-2015, “The Amborella Genome Project” (Co-PI with Claude dePamphilis [PI] and Hong Ma (Penn State), Doug Soltis, Pam Soltis, and Brad Barbazuk (Florida), Sue Wessler (UC Riverside) and Vic Albert (Buffalo))

Selected Publications:
  • Augustin, M.M., D. Ruzicka, A.K. Shukla, J.M. Augustin, M.R. McKain, CM. Starks, M. O’Neil-Johnson, P.P. Edger, J.C. Pires, J.H. Leebens-Mack, and T.M. Kutchan, 2015. Accelerating biochemical pathway elucidation in non-model systems : Formation of the antineoplastic cyclopamine in Veratrum californicum. The Plant Journal.  In Press DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12871
  • Harkess, A.,  F. Mercati, H-Y. Shan, F.  Sunseri, A. Falavigna and J. Leebens-Mack.   2015.  Sex-biased gene expression in dioecious garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) New Phytologist. Early Access DOI: 10.1111/nph.13389
  • Mercati, F., P. Riccardi, A. Harkess, T. Sala, M. R. Abenavoli, J. H. Leebens-Mack, A. Falavigna, F. Sunseri.  2015.  SNP-based parentage analysis and population structure in garden asparagus, a worldwide genetic stock classification.  Molecular Breeding, 35:59.  doi: 10.1007/s11032-015-0217-5
  • Cannon, S.  M. R. McKain, A. Harkess, M. Deyholos, M. Chase, C. N.
  • Stewart, Y. Peng, B. Joyce, P. Soltis, D. Soltis, M. N. Nelson, N. Miles, T. Kutchan,  X. Tan, C. Chen,  E. Carpenter, Y. Zhang, G. Ka-Shu Wong, J. J. Doyle and J. H. Leebens-Mack. 2015.  Independent genome duplication events and the evolution of nodulation in the legumes.  Molecular Biology and Evolution, 32 (1): 193-210 doi:10.1093/molbev/msu296
  • Wickett, N.J., S. Mirarab, N. Nguyen, T. Warnow, E. Carpenter, N. Matasci, S. Ayyampalayam, M. Barker, G. J. Burleigh, M. A. Gitzendanner, B. Ruhfel, E. Wafula, J.P. Der, S. W. Graham, S. Mathews, M. Melkonian, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis, C. Rothfels, L. Pokorny, J. Shaw, L. DeGironimo, D. Stevenson, B. Surek, J.C. Villarreal, B. Roure, H. Philippe, C. W. dePamphilis, T. Chen, M. Deyholos, J. Wang, Y. Zhang, Z. Tian, Z. Yan, X. Wu, X. Sun, G. K-S. Wong, and J. Leebens-Mack.  2014.  A phylotranscriptomic analysis of the origin and early diversification of land plants.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 111 (45):E4859–E4868. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1323926111
  • Rentsch, J.D., and J. Leebens-Mack. 2014.  Yucca aloifolia (Agavoidea, Asparabaceae) opts out of an obligate pollination mutualism? Evidence for diurnal, non-moth pollination of a Yucca species. American Journal of Botany. 101(12): 2062-2067.  doi: 10.3732/ajb.1400351
  • Eserman L.A., G. P. Tiley, R. L. Jarret, J. H. Leebens-Mack, R. E. Miller.  2014.  Phylogenetics and diversification of morning glories based on whole plastome sequences.  American Journal of Botany 101(1):92-103. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1300207
  • Barrett, C.F., C. D. Specht, J. Leebens-Mack, D. W. Stevenson, W. B. Zomlefer, and J. I. Davis.  2014.  Resolving ancient radiations: can complete plastid gene sets elucidate deep relationships among the tropical gingers (Zingiberales Griseb.)? Annals of Botany 113(1):119-33. doi: 10.1093/aob/mct264
  • The Amborella Genome Project (J. J. Acosta, V. A. Albert, N. S. Altman, J. S. S. Ammiraju, S. Arikit, M. J. Axtell, S. Ayyampalayam, W. B. Barbazuk, R. A. Bruenn, J. M. Burnette, L. Carretero-Paulet, S. Chamala, A. S. Chanderbali, T-H. Chang, F. Chen, J-Q. Chen, V. Chiang, A. de Kochko, C. W. dePamphilis, J. P. Der, R. Determann, J. C. Estill, N. P. Farrell, B. Fogliani, C. Guo, J. Harholt, A. Harkess, L. R. Herrera-Estrella, E. Ibarra-Laclette, Y. Jiao, C. Job, D. Job, S. Kim, M. Kirst, H. Kong, T. Lan, J. H. Leebens-Mack, G. Li, L. Li, J. Liu, K. Liu, E. Lyons, H. Ma, W. Mei, B. C. Meyers, J. D. Palmer, E. De Paoli, J. Park, S. P. Pissis, V. Poncet, X. Qi, L. Rajjou, P. Ralph, S. Rounsley, D. Sankoff, V. Sarramegna, S. C. Schuster, R. Sederoff, S. Shahid, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis, Y-H. Sun, J. Talag, H. Tang, L. Tomsho, P. Ulvskov, M. Villegente, E. Wafula, B. Walts, S. Wanke, S. R. Wessler, R. A. Wing, J-Y. Xue, T-F. Yeh, X. Yu, J. Zhai, X. Zhang, C. Zheng).  2013.  The Amborella Genome and the Evolution of Flowering Plants.  Science 342(6165):1241089. doi: 10.1126/science.1241089
  • Chamala S, A.S. Chanderbali, J.P. Der, T. Lan, B. Walts, V.A. Albert, C.W. dePamphilis, J. Leebens-Mack, S. Rounsley, S.C. Schuster, R.A. Wing, N. Xiao, R. Moore, P.S. Soltis, D.E. Soltis, W.B. Barbazuk.  2013. Assembly and Validation of the Genome of the Nonmodel Basal Angiosperm Amborella.  Science 342(6165):1516-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1241130
  • Vitte, C., M. Estep, J. Leebens-Mack and J. L. Bennetzen. 2013. Young, intact and nested retrotransposons in the onion and asparagus genomes.  Annals of Botany 112(5):881-9 10.1093/aob/mct155
  • Davis,J.I., J.R. McNeal, C.F. Barrett, M.W. Chase, J.I . Cohen, M.R. Duvall, T.J. Givnish, S.W. Graham, G. Petersen, J.C.  Pires, O. Seberg, D.W. Stevenson, and J. Leebens-Mack.  2012.  Contrasting Patterns of Support among Plastid Genes and Genomes for Major Clades of the Monocotyledons. In Early Events in Monocot Evolution, P. Wilkin and S.J. Mayo, eds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 315-349
  • Rentsch JD, Leebens-Mack J. 2012. Homoploid hybrid origin of Yucca gloriosa: intersectional hybrid speciation in Yucca (Agavoideae, Asparagaceae). Ecol Evol. 2(9):2213-22. doi: 10.1002/ece3.328.
  • D’Hont, A., F. Denoeud, J-M. Aury, F-C. Baurens, F. Carreel, O. Garsmeur, B. Noel, S. Bocs, G. Droc,  M. Rouard, C. Da Silva, K. Jabbari,, C. Cardi, J. Poulain, M. Souquet, K. Labadie, C. Jourda, J. Lengelle, M. Rodier-Goud, A. Alberti, M. Bernard,  M. Correa,  S. Ayyampalayam, M. R. Mckain, J. Leebens-Mack, D. Burgess, M. Freeling, D. Mbéguié, A. Mbéguié, R. Habas, R. Rivallan,  T. Wicker, O. Panaud, J. Barbosa, E. Hribova, P. Heslop-Harrison, M. Chabannes, P. Francois, C. Poiron, A. Kilian, D. Burthia, C. Jenny, F. Bakry, S. Brown, V. Guignon, G. Kema, M. Dita, C. Waalwijk, S. Joseph, A. Dievart, O. Jaillon,, J. Leclercq, X. Argout, E. Lyons, A. Almeida, M. Jeridi, J. Dolezel, N. Roux, A-M Risterucci, J. Weissenbach,, M. Ruiz, J-C. Glaszmann, F. Quétier, N. Yahiaoui, P. Wincker. 2012. The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants. Nature 488(7410):213-7.  doi:10.1038/nature11241
  • McKain, M.R., N. Wickett, Y. Zhang, S. Ayyampalayam, W. R. McCombie, M. W. Chase, J. C.Pires, C. W. dePamphilis and J. Leebens-Mack 2012. Phylogenomic analysis of transcriptome data elucidates co-occurrence of a paleopolyploid event and the origin of bimodal karyotypes in Agavoideae (Asparagaceae).  American Journal of Botany 99:397-406, doi:10.3732/ajb.1100537
  • Jiao, Y., J. Leebens-Mack, S, Ayyampalayam, J. E. Bowers, M. R McKain, J. McNeal, M. Rolf, D. R Ruzicka, E. Wafula, N. J Wickett, X. Wu, Y. Zhang, J. Wang, Y. Zhang, E. Carpenter, M. K Deyholos, T. M Kutchan, A. S. Chanderbali, P. S. Soltis, D. W. Stevenson, R. McCombie, J. C. Pires, G. Ka-Shu Wong, D. E. Soltis and C. W. dePamphilis.  2012. A genome triplication associated with early diversification of the core eudicots. Genome Biology 13(1):R3. doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-1-r3
  • Althoff D.M., K.A. Segraves, C.I. Smith, J. Leebens-Mack, O. Pellmyr. 2012. Geographic isolation trumps coevolution as a driver of yucca and yucca moth diversification. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 62(3):898-906.
  • Zuccolo, A. J.E. Bowers, J. C. Estill, Z. Xiong, M. Luo,, A. Sebastian, J. L. Goicoechea, K.Collura, Y. Yu, Y. Jiao, J. Duarte, H. Tang, S. Ayyampalayam, S. Rounsley, D. Kudrna, A. H. Paterson,, J. C. Pires, D. E. Soltis, S. Chamala, B. Barbazuk, P.S. Soltis, V. A. Albert, H. Ma, D. Mandoli, J. Banks, J. E. Carlson, J. Tomkins, C. W. dePamphilis, R. A. Wing. J. Leebens-Mack. 2011. A Physical Map for the Amborella Genome Sheds Light on the Evolution of Angiosperm Genome Structure. Genome Biology 12(5):R48.  doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-5-r48
  • Jiao, Y., N. J. Wickett, S. Ayyampalayam, A.S. Chanderbali, L. Landherr, P. E. Ralph, L. P. Tomsho, Y. Hu, H. Liang, P. S. Soltis, D. E. Soltis, S. W. Clifton, S. E. Schlarbaum, S. C. Schuster, H. Ma, J. Leebens-Mack, C.W. dePamphilis. 2011. Ancestral polyploidy in seed plants and angiosperms. Nature 473(7345):97-100. doi:10.1038/nature09916
  • Givnish, T.J., M.A. Sevillano, J.R. McNeal, M. R. McKain, P.R. Steele, C.W. dePamphilis, S. W. Graham, J. C. Pires, D. W. Stevenson, W. B. Zomlefer, B. G. Briggs, M. R. Duvall, M. J. Moore, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis, K. Thiele, and J. H. Leebens-Mack. 2010. Assembling the tree of the monocotyledons: Plastome sequence phylogeny and evolution of Poales. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Gardens 97(4):584-616.  doi:​
Articles Featuring James H. Leebens-Mack

Genetics scientist was featured in the Columns:

Graduate Students

Support Genetics at UGA

Thank you for your support to the Genetics Department and the University of Georgia. Contributions from alumni and friends are critical to maintaining our core missions of teaching and research. Gifts are tax deductible.

Click here to learn more

Every dollar contributed to the department has a direct impact on our students and faculty.