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Associate Professor
Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversite
Sorbonne Universités

57 rue Cuvier - CP 39
F- 75005 Paris, France
Email :yockteng’at’

 Research interests

1. Evolution of plant-animal interactions

My research focuses in understanding the evolution of plant-animal interactions and its consequences in plant speciation, using molecular phylogenetic methods. I study these processes using as example the plants of the family Passifloraceae. The phylogenetic framework allows to reconstruct the evolution of plant traits associated to plant-animal interactions and to test the correlated evolution between plant and animal traits.

The Passifloraceae plants present associations with different animal species. Species of genus Passiflora are well known for being the host plants of larvae of Butterflies of tribe Heliconiine. Species of Passiflora present diverse morphological and chemical traits that have probably evolved to defend them against caterpillars.

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Illustration : Rafael Yockteng

Flower morphology in plants of genus Passiflora seems to be adapted to a specific type of pollinator : bees, hummingbirds or bats. For instance, the presence of tubular flowers and the pollination by hummingbirds are probably correlated.

2. Floral developmental evolution in the order Zingiberales

I am currently associate researcher at the Specht Lab at the University California in Berkeley.
I am implicated in a large project that studies the genetics of the floral development in the order Zingiberales. The main objective is to identify the majority of the genes that have played a role in the evolution of the diversity of floral forms in the order using RT-PCR, RNA-seq Illumina and in situ hybridization.

3. Specialisation and speciation in Microbotryum

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Photo Michael Hood

I also collaborate with Tatiana Giraud to study the evolutionary mechanisms associated to the specialization and speciation of the fungus Microbotryum violaceum.
Microbotryum violaceum produces the anther smut disease in more than 90 plant species from the family Caryophyllaceae. In order to identify positively selected genes, we have created libraries of EST for four sibling species of this fungus Microbase.


  • 2005 - present

Associate Professor (Maître de conférences) - Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France

  • 2010 - present

Associate Researcher - Specht lab - University of California, Berkeley

  • 2004 - 2005

Post-doc - Lab. Écologie, Systématique et Évolution, Univ. Paris XI, Orsay, France.

  • 2002-2004

Temporary assistant professor (ATER) - Lab. Écologie, Systématique et Évolution, Univ. Paris XI, Orsay, France

  • 1999-2003

PhD- Lab. Écologie, Systématique et Évolution, Univ. Paris XI, Orsay, France

  • 1997-1999

MS Biology - Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia

  • 1990-1996

BS Biology - Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.


- Almeida AMR, Yockteng R, Schnable JC, Alvarez-Buylla ER, Freeling M, Specht CD. Accepted. Co-option of the polarity gene network shapes filament morphology in angiosperms. Scientific Reports.

- Yockteng R, Almeida AMR, Pyneiro-Nelson, A, Specht CD. In press. Adaptation of flower form : an evo-devo approach to study adaptive evolution in flower morphology. Chapter book. Mechanisms in Plant Adaptation.

- Yockteng R, Almeida AMR, Yee S, Andre T, Hill C, Specht CD. 2013. A Method for Extracting High-Quality RNA from Diverse Plants for Next-Generation Sequencing and Gene Expression Analyses. Applications in Plant Sciences 1 (12) : 1300070.

- Yockteng R, Almeida AMR, Morioka K, Alvarez-Buylla ER, Specht CD. 2013. Molecular evolution and patterns of duplication in the SEP/AGL6-like lineage of the Zingiberales : a proposed mechanism for floral diversification. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30 (11), 2401-2422.

- Pignal M, Yockteng R, Hearn DJ, JN Labat. 2013. Adenia barthelatii (Passifloraceae), a new endemic species of Mayotte and its phylogenetic status within the genus Adenia. Phytotaxa 99 (1), 40–48

- Peccoud J, Piatschecka F, Yockteng R, Garcia M, Sauve M, Djiéto-Lordond C, Harris DJ, Wieringa JJ, Breteler FJ, Born C, McKey D and Blatrix R. 2013. Multi-locus phylogenies of the genus Barteria (Passifloraceae) portray complex patterns in the evolution of myrmecophytism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66(3):824–832.

- Specht CD, Yockteng R, Almeida AM, Kirchoff BK, Kress WJ. 2012. Homoplasy, Pollination, and Emerging Complexity During the Evolution of Floral Development in the Tropical Gingers (Zingiberales). Botanical Review 78(4):440-462.

- Horns F, Petit E, Yockteng R, Hood ME. 2012. Patterns of Repeat-Induced Point Mutation in Transposable Elements of Basidiomycete Fungi. Genome Biology and Evolution 4(3) : 240-247.

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- Moreno-Mateos D, Power ME , Comín FA , Yockteng R. 2012. Structural and Functional Loss in Restored Wetland Ecosystems. PLoS Biol 10(1) : e1001247.

- Yockteng R, Coppens d’Eeckenbrugge G, Chies T,. Passiflora. 2011. In : Kole, C. Wealth of Wild Species : Genetic, Genomic and Breeding Resources. Springer-Verlag Series. pp.129-171.

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- Chauveau O, Eggers L, Raquin C, Silverio A, Brown S, Couloux A, Cruaud C, Kaltchuk-Santos E , Yockteng R, Souza-Chies TT, Nadot S. 2011. Evolution of oil-producing trichomes in Sisyrinchium (Iridaceae) : insights from the first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the genus. Annals of Botany 107(8) : 1287-1312.

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- Hood ME, Mena-Alí JI, Gibson AK, Oxelman B, Giraud T, Yockteng R, Arroyo MTK, Conti F, Pedersen, A., Gladieux P, Antonovics J. 2010. Distribution of the anther-smut pathogen Microbotryum on species of the Caryophyllaceae. New Phytologist 187 : 217-229.

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- Aguileta G, Lengelle J, Marthey S, Chiapello H, Rodolphe F, Gendrault-JacquemardA., Yockteng R, Vercken E, Devier B, Fontaine MC, Wincker P, Dossat C, Cruaud C, Couloux A, Giraud T. 2010. Finding candidate genes under positive selection in non-model species : examples of genes involved in host specialization in pathogens. Molecular Ecology,19:292–306.

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- Aguileta, G, Refrégier, G, Yockteng, R, Fournier, E, Giraud, T. 2009. Rapidly evolving genes in pathogens : methods for detecting positive selection and examples among fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 9 : 656–670.

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- Refrégier G, Le Gac M, Jabbour F, Widmer A, Shykoff JA, Yockteng R, Hood ME, Giraud, T. 2008. Cophylogeny of the Anther Smut Fungi and their Caryophyllaceous hosts : prevalence of host shifts
BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:100.

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- Giraud T, Yockteng R, López-Villavicencio M, Refrégier G, Hood ME. 2008. The mating system of the anther smut fungus, Microbotryum violaceum. Eukaryotic cell 7(5) : 765–775.

- Yockteng, R. 2008. La systématique moderne. En : Origine de plantes. Chapter 33. Editions Fayard. France.

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- Giraud T, Yockteng R, Marthey S, Chiapello H, Jonot O, Lopez-villavicencio M, De vienne D, Hood ME, Refregier G, Gendrault A, Wincker P & Dossat C. 2008. Isolation of 60 polymorphic microsatellite loci in EST libraries of four sibling species of the phytopathogenic fungal complex Microbotryum. Molecular Ecology Resources : 387-392.

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- Yockteng R, Marthey S, Chiapello H, Gendrault A, Hood ME, Rodolphe F, Devier B, Wincker P, Dossat C, & T Giraud. 2007. Expressed sequences tags of the anther smut fungus, Microbotryum violaceum, identify mating and pathogenicity genes. BMC Genomics 8:272

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- Malécot V, Marcussen T, Munzinger J, Yockteng R & Henry M. 2007. On the origin of the sweet-smelling Parma Violets cultivars : wide intraspecific hybridization, sterility and sexual reproduction. American Journal of Botany 94(1) : 29–41.

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- Ricroch A, Yockteng R, Brown SC & Nadot S. 2005. Evolution of genome size across cultivated Allium species. Genome 48:511-520.

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- Souza-Chies TT, Yockteng R & Nadot S. 2005. La systématique moléculaire du genre Passiflora L. (Passifloraceae) basée sur la comparaison de données obtenues en France et au Brésil. Cahiers Agricultures 14(2) : 209-215.

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- Yockteng R & Nadot S. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships among Passiflora species based on the glutamine synthetase nuclear gene expressed in chloroplast (ncpGS). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31(1) : 379-396.

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- Yockteng R & Nadot S. 2004. Infrageneric phylogenies : a comparison of chloroplast-expressed glutamine synthetase, cytosol-expressed glutamine synthetase and cpDNA maturase K in Passiflora. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31(1) : 397-402.

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- Yockteng R, Ballard H, Mansion G, Dajoz I & Nadot S. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships among pansies (Viola section Melanium) investigated using ITS and ISSR markers. Plant Systematics and Evolution 241 : 153-170.

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- Madden M, Salo WL, Streitz J, Aufderheide AC, Fornaciari G, Jaramillo C, Vallejo GA, Yockteng R, Arriaza B, Cárdenas-Arroyo F. & Guhl F. 2001. Hybridization Screening of Very Short PCR Products for Paleoepidemiological Studies of Chagas’ disease. Short Technical Reports, BioTechniques 30 : 102-109.

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- Guhl F, Jaramillo, C, Vallejo G, Yockteng R, Cárdenas-Arroyo F, Fornaciari G, Arriaza B. & Aufderheide AC. 1999. Isolation of Trypanosoma cruzi DNA in 4,000-year-old mummified human tissue from northern Chile. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 108 : 401-407.

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- Yockteng R & Cavelier J. 1998. Riqueza y mecanismos de dispersión de árboles de la Isla Gorgona y de los bosques húmedos tropicales del pacífico colombo-ecuatoriano. Revista de Biología Tropical 46(1):45-53.

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- Guhl F, Jaramillo C, Yockteng R, Vallejo G & Cárdenas-Arroyo F. 1997. Trypanosoma cruzi in human mummies. The Lancet 349 (9062):1370.

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