Department of Botany & Plant Sciences


LittAmy Litt

Associate Professor & Associate Biologist of Plant Evolution & Development  (Ph.D., 1999, City University of New York/New York Botanical Garden)

Office: 2109 Batchelor Hall
Phone: (951) 827-2113
Fax: (951) 827-4437
Email: amy.litt@ucr.edu



BA Brown University 1975

M.Phil. Yale University 1982

College/Division Affiliation

Institute for Integrated Genome Studies

Center for Integrative Biological Collections

Research interests:

Our research is aimed at understanding the genetic basis of plant diversity – how genes have changed over the course of evolutionary time, and how those changes have led to the current diversity of plant form and function. We take a comparative interdisciplinary approach, integrating phylogenetics, morphology, and molecular biology methods to characterize changes in gene function across species and how they have influenced plant development.  Current areas of interest include (1) identifying genetic changes that allow some plants to produce edible fleshy fruits, whereas close relatives produce seeds in a dry woody pod; (2) understanding the novel regulatory interactions that occur when two species hybridize, resulting in the combination of two distinct genomes in one nucleus, and often producing unexpected phenotypes; (3) the genetic basis of individual variation in plant development and how selection on this individual variation leads to species diversity; (4) the role of epigenetic factors in domestication, ecological adaptation, and evolution.

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Selected Publications:

Franks, S. J., B. Perez-Sweeney, M. Strahl, A. Nowogrodzki, J. J. Weber, R. Lalchan, K. P. Jordan, and A. Litt.  In press.  Variation in the flowering time orthologs BrFLC and BrSOC1 in a natural population of Brassica rapa. PeerJ.

Meyer, R.S., B.D. Whitaker, D.P. Little, S.-B. Wu, E.J. Kennelly, C.-L. Long, and A. Litt. 2015.  Parallel reductions in phenolic constituents resulting from the domestication of eggplant. Phytochemistry 115:194-206.

Welt, R., A. Litt, and S. Franks. 2015.  Population genetic changes following rapid evolution of flowering time in Brassica rapaAoB PLANTS 7: plv026; doi:10.1093/aobpla/plv026.

Pabón-Mora, N, O Hidalgo, S. Gleissberg, and A. Litt. 2013.  Assessing duplication and loss of APETALA1/FRUITFULL orthologs inRanunculales.  Frontiers in Plant Development and Evolution doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00358.

Pabón-Mora, N, B. Sharma, L. Holappa, E. Kramer, and A. Litt.  2013.  The Aquilegia FRUITFULL-like genes play key roles in leaf morphogenesis and inflorescence development. Plant Journal 74(2):197-212.

Litt, A.  2013.  Comparative evolution of land plant genomes.  In Comparative Development of Land Plants. B. Ambrose and M. Purugganan, eds. Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Gramzow, L., E. Barker, C. Schulz, B. Ambrose, N. Ashton, G. Theißen, and A. Litt. 2012.  Selaginella genome analysis – entering the ‘homoplasy heaven’ of the MADS world  Frontiers in Plant Science 3:214. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00214.

Pabón-Mora, N., B. Ambrose, and A. Litt.  2012. Functional characterization of poppy FRUITFULL--like genes and implications in the evolution of the APETALA1/FRUITFULL gene lineage.  Plant Physiology 158: 1685-1704.  

Meyer, R., K. Karol, D. Little, M. Nee, and A. Litt. 2012.  Phylogeographic relationships among Asian eggplants and new perspectives on eggplant domestication. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63: 685-701.

Pabón-Mora, N. and A. Litt.  2011. Comparative anatomical and developmental analysis of dry and fleshy fruits of Solanaceae.  American Journal of Botany 98: 1415-1436.

Litt, A. 2007. An evaluation of A function: evidence from the APETALA1 and APETALA2 gene lineages.  International Journal of Plant Sciences 168(1): 73-91.

Litt, A. and V. F. Irish.  2003.  Duplication and divergence in the APETAL1/FRUITFULL gene lineage: implications for the evolution of floral development programs.  Genetics 165:821-833.

Lab Personnel:

                Elizabeth McCarthy, post-doctoral researcher

                Dinusha Maheepala, graduate student researcher

                Ivonne Sanchez, visiting scholar

                Arman Baghaei, undergraduate researcher

                Amelda Kurti, undergraduate researcher

                Amber Lawhorn, undergraduate researcher

                Jenna Macon, undergraduate researcher






More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department & Program Information

Department of Botany & Plant Sciences
2142 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-4619
Fax: (951) 827-4437
E-mail: bpschair@ucr.edu

Plant Biology Graduate Program
CNAS Grad Student Affairs Office
1140 Batchelor Hall

Toll: (800) 735-0717
Tel: (951) 827-5688
Fax: (951) 827-5517
E-mail: Laura.mcgeehan@ucr.edu