June 2019

Congratulations Colby Witherup on her recent publication “Genetic Diversity of Bangladeshi Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) over Time and Across Seedling Sources

August 2018

Congratulations Lauren Audi on a successful Master’s thesis defense! Keep an eye out for publications from her thesis: “The Breadfruit Odyssey: Genetic Characterization of Caribbean Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) using genomic, morphological and collaborative approaches.


Listen to this interview on NPR with Mary McLaughlin, co-founder of Trees That Feed Foundationand learn about the community work they are doing to help feed people, create jobs, and benefit the environment!

July 2018 

Check out Maria Wang’s blog about cempedak

June 2018

Congratulations to Kristen Laricchia and Maria Wang for their publications of their Master’s theses research!

Laricchia, K.M., M. Johnson, N.J.C. Zerega, and N.J. Wickett. 2018. A transcriptome screen for positive selection in domesticated breadfruit and its wild relatives (Artocarpus spp.). American Journal of Botany.

Wang, M.M.H., E.M. Gardner, A.R. Milan, Salma, C.M. Yee, R. Chung, L.S. Leong, and N.J.C. Zerega. 2018. Origin and diversity of an underutilized fruit tree crop, cempedak (Artocarpus integer, Moraceae). American Journal of Botany.









May 2018 

Ever wonder how enormous and delicious jackfruits are pollinated? Check it out!

Gardner, E.M. R. Gagne, P.E. Kendra, W.S. Montgomery, R.A. Raguso, T.T. McNeil and N.J.C. Zerega. 2018. A flower in fruit’s clothing: Pollination of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, Moraceae) by a new species of gall midge, Clinodiplosis ultracrepidata sp. nov. (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). International Journal of Plant Sciences. 


Check out Heather Rose Kates’ new paper and collaboration with the Zerega Lab in American Journal of Botany: Allele phasing has minimal impact on phylogenetic reconstruction from targeted nuclear gene sequences in a case study of Artocarpus.


December 2017

Congratulations Dr. Elliot Gardner on a successful dissertation defense! His dissertation “Evolutionary transitions: Phylogenomics and pollination of Artocarpus (Moraceae)” is a fantastic piece of research and a great read! Keep an eye out for upcoming publications from it!


July 2017

Check out our publication “Phylogeny and biogeography of Maclura (Moraceae) and the origin of an anachronistic fruit” in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 


Congratulations Elliot Gardner for receiving a NSF Postdoc Fellowship: Convergent evolution of biotic pollination in wind-pollinated angiosperm linages: functional and genomic exploration of a rare transition.


Spring 2017

Congratulations to Lauren Audi for receiving funding to support her work on breadfruit diversity and advancing food security in the Caribbean: 2017 GCA Scholarship in Field Botany Award, 2017 Botanical Society of America Graduate Student Award, Northwestern Alumnae Association Award, and the Resnick Family Social Impact Program Award.

January 2017

Check out our publication “Out of Borneo: biogeography, phylogeny and divergence date estimates of Artocarpus (Moraceae)” in Annals of Botany. We reconstructed the evolutionary history of Artocarpus and found that Borneo represents the ancestral range for the genus and likely served as a center of diversification (especially during the Miocene), from which Artocarpus species dispersed to and diversified in other regions of South and Southeast Asia.


August 2016 

Breadfruit story on NPR featuring the Breadfruit Institute and collaborator Diane Ragone


July 2016

Congratulations to lab alum, Kristen Laricchia, on her new position as Associate Computational Biologist at the Broad Institute


June 2016

Congratulations to Elliot Gardner on his recent first author publication: Gardner, E.M., M.G. Johnson, D. Ragone, N.J. Wickett, and N.J.C. Zerega. 2016. Low-coverage, whole-genome sequencing ofArtocarpus camansi (Moraceae) for phylogenetic marker development and gene discovery. Applications in Plant Sciences4(7), apps.1600017. http://doi.org/10.3732/apps.1600017


December 2015

Nyree Zerega (lead PI) along with  Elliot Gardner and collaborators in Malaysia were awarded a grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation fund: “Conservation plan development and IUCN Red List assessment for Artocarpus annulatus, a crop wild relative thought to be critically endangered” ($6,000).


September 2015

Congratulations to Elliot Gardner on his recent publication Gardner, E.M., K.M. Laricchia, M. Murphy, D. Ragone, B.E. Scheffler, S. Simpson, E.W. Williams, and N.J.C. Zerega. 2015. Primer Note: Chloroplast microsatellite markers for Artocarpus (Moraceae) developed from transcriptome sequences. Applications in Plant Sciences 3(9): http:dx.doi.org/10.3732/apps.1500049


“Experts are hailing this exotic fruit that tastes like pulled pork as ‘miracle’ crop which could save millions from starvation.” N. Zerega quoted in Business Insider, Sept. 12 http://www.businessinsider.com/this-miracle-fruit-tastes-like-pulled-pork-2015-8


June 2015

Nyree Zerega published an OpEd “GMOs or no GMOs – Is That Really the Question?” in the Huffington Post.


Congratulations to Elliot Gardner, for being awarded an ISEN (Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern) grant for ” Basic science for a sustainable future: the genome of breadfruit’s wild relative.”  ($4,673)


April 2015

Congratulations to Elliot Gardner, who was awarded a 2015 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for “Evolutionary transitions: pollination biology and domestication of Artocarpus (Moraceae).” Elliot’s research combines phylogenomics with field experiments and morphological studies, and the grant will fund fieldwork in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo) ($17,882).


March 2015

Nyree Zerega published an OpEd “Stop and Smell the Weeds” in Pacific Standard.


November 2014

Nyree Zerega published an OpEd about the role of underutilized crops in promoting food security.


Spring 2104

Maria Wang Mei Hua produces a web video about her research through the Ready, Set, Go Program. Watch it here.