Featured Profile: Chris Pires
University of Missouri researcher Dr. J. Chris Pires studies the evolutionary processes that shape the diversity we see in the plant world.
Pires focuses on plant species that have undergone genome duplication events in their evolutionary history and, as a result, have an extra set of chromosomes. He’s interested in whether these plants have used this extra genetic material to develop new traits and to diversify. He was part of an international team that compared the lineage of cabbage plants and cabbage butterflies and proved they mutually influenced each other’s development, resulting in more new species. Additionally, he discovered that chromosomes in canola can rearrange themselves in unexpected ways during reproductive cell division. Pires’ research findings are important to efforts ranging from crop improvement to understanding biodiversity.
Pires takes an active role in advising students who work in his laboratory and has been named an “Outstanding Mentor” by MU’s Office of Undergraduate Research. “What I enjoy most about being a scientist is helping the next generation of scientists find their passion,” he says.
Dr. J. Chris Pires is an associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science. He is an investigator in the Bond Life Science Center and an integral member of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group and MU Informatics Institute.
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