Bob Jansen

Director, Professor
Plant Resources Center, Department of Integrative Biology

Sidney F. and Doris Blake Centennial Professor in Systematic Botany and the Blake Collection

Plant molecular evolution, comparative genomics, plant systematics

Phone: 512-471-8827

Office Location
BIO 212

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Plant Resources Center, College of Natural Sciences
1 University Station F0404
Austin, TX 78712

Dr. Robert K. Jansen is the S.F. Blake Centennial Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a member of the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology (ICMB) and the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and UT-Austin. Professor Jansen received his Ph.D. in Botany in 1982 at Ohio State University. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan and was an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut from 1987 - 1991.  He joined the faculty of UT-Austin in 1991 as an Associate Professor.  Professor Jansen served as Chair of  the Department of Integrative Biology from 1998-2015.  He assumed the position as Director of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center in 2016.  Professor Jansen studies plant molecular systematics and evolution with a primary focus on comparative genomics of plastids, and their utility for understanding genome evolution and phylogenetic relationships of angiosperms. Dr. Jansen serves on the editorial board of several journals, including BMC Evolutionary Biology, Journal of Plant Biology, Plant Systematics and Evolution. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Seacology, the Advisory Committee of Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and a Distinguished Adjunct Professor Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Google Scholar Link:


My primary research interests involve the determination of phylogenetic relationships among plants and genome evolution.

Research in my lab is concentrated in four areas: (1) organization and evolution of plastid genomes; (2) computational methods for comparative  genomics, (3) coordinated evolution between mitochondrial. nuclear and plastid genomes, and (4) systematics and the evolution of the Geraniaceae and Fabaceae.


Google Scholar Link:


Google Scholar Link: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=utnDy7MAAAAJ

Weng M.-L., Ruhlman T.A. and Jansen R.K. 2017. Expansion of inverted repeat does not decrease substitution rates in Pelargonium plastid genomes. New Phytologist 214: 842–851.

Gruenstaeudl M., Carstens B.C., Santos-Guerra A., and Jansen R.K. 2017. The impact of hybrid taxa on ancestral area reconstructions of Tolpis (Asteraceae). Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 121 (1): 133-149.

Ruhlman T.A., Zhang J., Blazier J.C., Sabir J.S.M., Jansen R.K. 2017. Recombination-dependent replication and gene conversion homogenize repeat sequences and diversify plastid genome structure. American Journal of Botany 104: 1–14.

Schwarz E.N., Ruhlman T.A., Weng M.-L., Khiyami M.A., Sabir J.M.S., Hajarah N.H., Alharbi N.S., Rabah S.O., and Jansen R.K. 2017. Plastome-wide nucleotide substitution rates reveal accelerated rates in Papilionoideae and correlations with genome features across legume subfamilies. Journal of Molecular Evolution 84: 187-203.

Park S., Ruhlman T.A., Weng M.-L., Hajrah N.H., Sabir J.M.S., and Jansen R.K. 2017. Contrasting patterns of nucleotide substitution rates provide insights into dynamic evolution of plastid and mitochondrial genomes of Geranium. Genome Biology and Evolution 9: 1766-1780. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evx124.

Rabah S.O., Lee C, Hajrah N.H., Makki R.M., Alharby H.F., Alhebshi A.M., Sabir J.M.S., Jansen, R.K., and Ruhlman T.A. 2017. Plastome sequencing of 10 non-model crop species uncovers a recent, large insertion of mitochondrial DNA in cashew (Anacardium, Anacardiaceae). The Plant Genome, doi: 10.3835/plantgenome2017.03.0020.

Hajrah N.H., Obaid A.Y., Atef A., Ramadan A.M., Arasappan D., Nelson C.A., Edris S., Mutwakil M.Z., Alhebshi, A., Gadalla N.O., Makki R.M., Al-Kordy M.A., El-Domyati F.M., Sabir J.S.M., Khiyami M.A., Hall N., Bahieldin A, and Jansen R.K. 2017. Transcriptomic analysis of salt stress responsive genes in Rhazya stricta. PLoS ONE 12: e0177589. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177589. pone.0177589.

Sabir J.S.M.*, Jansen R.K.*, Arasappan D., Calderon V., Noutahi E., Zheng C., Park S., Sabir M.J., Baeshen M.N., Hajrah N.H., Khiyami M.A., Baeshen N.A., Obaid A.Y., Al-Malki A.L., Sankoff D., El-Mabrouk N. and Ruhlman T.A.  2016. The nuclear genome of Rhazya stricta and the evolution of alkaloid diversity in a medically relevant clade of Apocynaceae. Scientific Reports 6:33782, DOI: 10.1038/srep33782.  *co-first authors.

Weng M.-L., Ruhlman T.A. and Jansen R.K.  2016. Nonsynonymous substitutions in nuclear-encoded plastid targeted genes drive evolution of plastid-encoded genes in Geraniaceae.  Genome Biology and Evolution 8:1824-1838, doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw115. 

Blazier J.C., Jansen R.K., Mower J.P., Govindu M., Zhang J., Weng M.-L., and Ruhlman T.A.  2016. Variable presence of the inverted repeat and plastome stability in ErodiumAnnals of Botany 117:1209-1220, doi:10.1093/aob/mcw065.

Blazier J.C., Ruhlman T.A., Weng M.-L., Rehman S.K., Sabir J.S.M., and Jansen R.K.  2016. Divergence of RNA polymerase α subunits in angiosperm plastid genomes is mediated by genomic rearrangement.  Scientific Reports 6:24595, DOI: 10.1038/srep24595.

Zhang J., Ruhlman T.A., Sabir J.S.M., Blazier J.C., Weng M.-L., Park S., and Jansen R.K.  2016. Coevolution between nuclear encoded DNA replication, recombination and repair genes and plastid genome complexity.  Genome Biology and Evolution 8: 622-634, doi:10.1093/gbe/evw033.

Li C.L., Ashworth M.P., Witkowski A., Dabek P., Medlin L.K., Kooistra W.H.C.F., Sato S., Zglobicka I., Kurzydlowski K.J., Theriot E.C., Sabir J.S.M., Khiyami M.A., Mutwakil M.H.Z., Sabir M.J., Alharbi N.S., Hajarah N.H., Qing S. and Jansen R.K. 2015.  New insights into Plagiogrammaceae (Bacillariophyta) based on multigene phylogenies and morphological characteristics with the description of a new genus and three new species. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0139300. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139300.

Dugas D.V., Hernandez D., Koenen E., Schwarz E., Straub S., Hughes C.E., Jansen R.K., Nageswara-Rao M., Staats M., Trujillo J., Hajrah N.H., Alharbi N.S., Al-Malki A.L., Sabir J.S.M., and Bailey C.D.  2015. Mimosoid legume plastome evolution: IR expansion, tandem repeat expansions, and accelerated rate of evolution in clpP. Scientific Reports 5: 16958.

Schwarz E., Ruhlman T.A., Sabir J.S.M., Hajrah N.H., Alharbi N.S., Al-Malki A.L., Bailey C.D. and Jansen R.K.  2015. Plastid genome sequences of legumes reveal parallel inversions and multiple losses of rps16 in papilionoids.  Journal of Systematics and Evolution 53: 458-468.  DOI: 10.1111/jse.12179.

Park S., Grewe F., Zhu A., Ruhlman T.A., Sabir H., Mower J.P., and Jansen R.K.  2015. Dynamic evolution of Geranium mitochondrial genomes through multiple horizontal and intracellular gene transfers.  New Phytologist 208: 570-583.  DOI: 10.1111/nph.13467.

Ruhlman T.A., Chang W.J., Chen J.J.W., Huang Y.-T., Chan M.-T., Zhang J., Liao D.-C., Blazier J.C., Jin X., Shih M.-C., Jansen R.K., and Lin C.-S.  2015. NDH expression marks major transitions in plant evolution and reveals coordinate intracellular gene loss.  BMC Plant Biology 15: 100.

Theriot E.C., Ashworth M., Nakov T., Ruck E., and Jansen R.K.  2015.  Dissecting signal and noise in Diatom chloroplast protein encoding genes with phylogenetic information profiling.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 89: 28-36.

Zhang J., Ruhlman T.A., Sabir J.S.M., Blazier J.C. and Jansen R.K.  2015. Coordinated rates of evolution between interacting plastid and nuclear genes in Geraniaceae.  Plant Cell 27: 563-573.

Park S., Jansen R.K., Park S-J.  2015. Complete plastome sequence of Thalictrum coreanum (Ranunculaceae) and the transfer of ribosomal protein L32 to the nucleus in the ancestor of the subfamily Thalictroideae. BMC Plant Biology 15:40.

Downie SR and Jansen RK.  2015. A comparative analysis of whole plastid genomes from the Apiales: expansion and contraction of the inverted repeat, mitochondrial to plastid transfer of DNA, and identification of highly divergent noncoding regions. Systematic Botany 40: 336–351.

Park S, Ruhlman TA, Sabir JSM, Mutwakil MHZ, Baeshen MN, Sabir MJ, Baeshen NA, Jansen RK. 2014. Complete sequences of organelle genomes from the medicinal plant Rhazya stricta (Apocynaceae) and contrasting patterns of mitochondrial genome evolution across asterids. BMC Genomics 15:405.

Ruck EC, Nakov T, Jansen RK, Theriot EC, Alverson AJ.  2014. Serial gene losses and foreign DNA underlie size and sequence variation in the plastid genomes of diatoms.  Genome Biology and Evolution 6: 644-654, doi:10.1093/gbe/evu039.

2014 Weng, M.-L., Blazier, J.C., Govindu, M., Jansen, R.K. Reconstruction of the ancestral plastid genome in Geraniaceae reveals a correlation between genome rearrangements, repeats and nucleotide substitution rates. Molecular Biology and Evolution, doi: 10.1093/molbev/mst257.

2013  Gruenstaeudl M., Santos-Guerra A, Jansen RK.   Phylogenetic analyses of Tolpis Adans. (Asteraceae) reveal patterns of adaptive radiation, multiple colonization, and interspecific hybridization. Cladistics 29: 416-434.

2013  Zhang J, Ruhlman TA, Mower JP, Jansen RK. Comparative analyses of two Geraniaceae transcriptomes using next-generation sequencing. BMC Plant Biology 13:228.

2013  Sabir JS, Baeshen NA, Shokry AM, Gadalla NO, Edris S, Mutwakil MH, Ramadan AM, Atef A, Al-Kordy MA, Abuzinadah OA, El-Domyati FM, Jansen RK, Bahieldin A. Detection of phytochrome-like genes from Rhazya stricta (Apocynaceae) using de novo genome assembly. C R Biologies 336: 521-529

2013  Alzohairy A.M., Gyulai G., Jansen R.K., Bahieldin A.  Transposable elements domesticated and neofunctionalized by eukaryotic genomes. Plasmid 69: 1-15.

2012 Weng M.-L., Ruhlman T.A., Gibby M., and R. K. Jansen, Phylogeny, rate variation, and genome size evolution of Pelargonium (Geraniaceae), Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 64: 654-670.

2012 Jansen, R.K. and T.A. Ruhlman.   Plastid genomes of seed plants. In: Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration 35, Genomics of chloroplasts and mitochondria.  Bock, R. and Knoop, V. (eds), Springer, Dordrecht Advances, pp. 103–126.

2011 Blazier J.C., Guisinger M.M., Jansen R.K, Recent loss of plastid-encoded ndh genes within Erodium (Geraniaceae), Plant Molecular Biology 76: 263-272 

2011 Jansen, RK, C Saski, S-B Lee, A K Hansen, and H Daniell, Complete plastid genome sequences of three rosids (Castanea, Prunus, Theobroma): evidence for at least two independent transfers of rpl22 to the nucleus, Molecular Biology and Evolution 28: 835-847 

2011 Guisinger MM, Kuehl JV, Boore JL, and RK Jansen., Extreme Reconfiguration of Plastid Genomes in the Angiosperm Family Geraniaceae: Rearrangements, Repeats, and Codon Usage, Molecular Biology and Evolution 28: 583-600 

2010 Guisinger, M.M., T.W. Chumley, J.V. Kuehl, J.L. Boore, and R.K. Jansen, Implications of the plastid genome sequence of Typha latifolia (Typhaceae, Poales) for understanding genome evolution in Poaceae, Journal of Molecular Evolution 70: 149-166 

2009 Haberle, R.S., A. Dang, T. Lee, C. Penaflor, H. Cortes-Burns, A. Oestreich, L. Raubeson, E. Edwards, S.-T. Tang, N. Cellinese, W.M.M. Eddie, and R.K. Jansen, Molecular systematics of Campanulaceae sensu stricto using chloroplast DNA sequences of atpB, matK, and rbcL, Taxon 58: 715–734 

2008 Guisinger MM, Kuehl JV, Boore JL, Jansen RK., Genome-wide analyses of Geraniaceae plastid DNA reveal unprecedented patterns of increased nucleotide substitutions., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(47): 18424-9 

2008 Cai Z, Guisinger M, Kim HG, Ruck E, Blazier JC, McMurtry V, Kuehl JV, Boore J, Jansen RK., Extensive reorganization of the plastid genome of Trifolium subterraneum (Fabaceae) is associated with numerous repeated sequences and novel DNA insertions, J Mol Evol. 67(6): 696-704 

2007 Raubeson, L.A., Peery, R., Chumley, T., Dziubek, C,, Fourcade, H.M., Boore, J.L., Jansen, R.K., Comparative chloroplast genomics: analyses including new sequences from the angiosperms Nuphar advena and Ranunculus macranthus, BMC Genomics 8: 174 

2007 Hansen, D.R., Dastidar, S.G., Cai, Z., Penaflor, C., Kuehl, J.V., Boore, J.L., Jansen, R.K., Phylogenetic and evolutionary implications of complete chloroplast genome sequences of four early-diverging angiosperms: Buxus (Buxaceae), Chloranthus (Chloranthaceae), Dioscorea (Dioscoreaceae), and Illicium (Schisandraceae), Mol Phylogenet Evol 45: 547-563 

2006 Jansen, R.K., C. Kaittanis, C. Saski, S-B. Lee, J. Tompkins, A. J. Alverson, and, H. Daniell, Phylogenetic analyses of Vitis (Vitaceae) based on complete chloroplast genome sequences: Effects of taxon sampling and phylogenetic methods on resolving relationships among Rosids, BMC Evolutionary Biology 6: 32 

2006 Cui, L., N. Veeraraghavan, K. Wall, R.K. Jansen, J. Leebens-Mack, I. Makalowska, C. W. dePamphilis, ChloroplastDB: the chloroplast genome database, Nucleic Acids Research 34: D692-D696

2006 Chumley, T.W., J.D. Palmer, J.P. Mower, J.L. Boore, H.M. Fourcade, P.J. Caile, and R.K. Jansen, The completed chloroplast genome sequence of Pelargonium x hortorum: Organization and evolution of the largest and most highly rearranged chloroplast genome of land plants, Molecular Biology and Evolution 23: 1-16 

2005 Leebens-Mack, J., L.A. Raubeson, L. Cui, J. Kuehl, M. Fourcade, T. Chumley, J.L. Boore, R.K. Jansen, and C.W. dePamphilis, Identifying the basal angiosperms in chloroplast genome phylogenies: Sampling one's way out of the Felsenstein zone, Molecular Biology and Evolution 22: 1948-1963 

2004 Wyman, S.K., J.L. Boore, and R.K. Jansen, Automatic annotation of organellar genomes with DOGMA, Bioinformatics 20: 3252-325 

ISI Highly cited 2002 - present

Honorary Distinguished Professor, King Abdulaziz University, Faculty of Science, Genomics and Biotechnology Section, Department of Biological Sciences 2011 - present