John M. Burke
Plant Sciences, Rm 4617
Phone Number:  706-583-5511
Office/Lab:  Plant Sciences, Rm 4604
Phone Number: 

Ph.D. , University of Georgia 1999

Research Projects: 

Our primary focus is plant evolutionary genetics and genomics. More specifically, we're studying the genetic basis of evolutionary divergence within the sunflower family (i.e., the Compositae or the Asteraceae). We also maintain an interest in the ecological and evolutionary impact of transgene escape from genetically modified crops into their wild relatives.

Grant Support: 
  • USDA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Program (Award #2010-33522-21668). 09/15/10-9/14/13. A multi-generational assessment of the fate and impact of crop gene introgression into wild sunflower. $400,000 (one of 3 co-PIs; $303,038 to UGA).
  • NSF Plant Genome Program (Award #DBI-0820451). 03/15/09-02/28/13. Comparative genomics of phenotypic variation in the Compositae. $8,000,000 (one of 7 co-PIs; $1,986,382 to UGA).
  • Genome Canada – Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops. Genomics of sunflower. 03/01/09-02/28/13
  • USDA Plant Genome Program. Association genetics in sunflower. 09/1/08-08/30/11
Of Note: 
  • Associate Editor, The Journal of Heredity (2004-2010)
  • Associate Editor, Heredity (2006-2010)
  • USDA panel member, Plant Genome Research Program (2009)
  • NSF panel member, Plant Genome Research Program (2005, 2007)
  • NSF Young Investigator Award in Plant Genome Research (2003-2008)
Recent Publications: 
  • Nambeesan, S.U., J.R. Mandel, J.E. Bowers, L.F. Marek, D. Ebert, J. Corbi, L.H. Rieseberg, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2015. Association mapping in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) reveals independent control of apical vs. basal branching. BMC Plant Biol. 15:84.
  • Staton, S.E. and J.M. Burke. 2015. Transposome: a toolkit for annotation of transposable element families from unassembled sequence reads. Bioinformatics, Advanced Access (Feb 2015).
  • Pearl, S.A. and J.M. Burke. 2014. Genetic diversity in Carthamus tinctorius (Asteraceae; safflower), and underutilized oilseed crop. Am. J. Bot. 101: 1640-1650.
  • Owart, B., J. Corbi, J.M. Burke, and J.M. Dechaine. 2014. Selection on crop-derived traits and QTL in sunflower (Helianthus annuus) crop-wild hybrids under water stress. PLoS ONE 9: e102717.
  • Mandel, J.R., E.V. McAssey, S. Nambeesan, E. Garcia-Navarro, and J.M. Burke. 2014. Molecular evolution of candidate genes for crop-related traits in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). PLoS ONE 9: e99620.
  • Barb, J.G., J.E. Bowers, S. Renaut, J.I. Rey, S.J. Knapp, L.H. Rieseberg, and J.M. Burke. 2014. Chromosomal evolution and patterns of introgression in Helianthus. Genetics 197: 969-979.
  • Pearl, S.A., J.E. Bowers, S. Reyes Chin-Wo, R.W. Michelmore, and J.M. Burke. 2014. Genetic analysis of safflower domestication. BMC Plant Biol. 14: 43.
  • Mandel, J.R., R.B. Dikow, V.A. Funk, R.R. Masalia, S.E. Staton, A. Kozik, R.W. Michelmore, L.H. Rieseberg, and J.M. Burke. A target enrichment method for gathering phylogenetic information from hundreds of loci: an example from the Compositae. Appl. Plant Sci. 2: 1300085.
  • Hodgins, K.A., Z. Lai, L. Oliveira, D.W. Still, M. Scascitelli, M.S. Barker, N. Kane, H. Dempewolf, R.V. Kesseli, J.M. Burke, R.W. Michelmore, and L.H. Rieseberg. 2014. Genomics of Compositae crops: EST libraries and evidence of hybridization with wild relatives. Mol. Ecol. Resour. 14: 166-177.
  • Chapman, M.A., J.R. Mandel, and J.M. Burke. 2013. Sequence validation of candidates for selectively important genes in sunflower. PLoS ONE 8: e71941.
  • Ziebell, A.L., J.G. Barb, S. Sandhu, R.W. Sykes, C. Doeppke, K.L. Gracom, M. Carlile, B. Moyers, L.F. Marek, M.F. Davis, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2013. Sunflower as a biofuels crop: an analysis of lignocellulosic chemical properties. Biomass Bioenergy 59: 208-217.
  • McCouch, S.R., G.J. Baute, J. Bradeen, P. Bramel, P.K. Bretting, E. Buckler, J.M. Burke, D. Charest, S. Cloutier, G. Cole, H. Dempewolf, M. Dinhkuhn, C. Feuillet, P. Gepts, D. Grattapaglia, L. Guarino, S. Jackson, S. Knapp, P. Langridge, A. Lawton-Rauh, Q. Lijua, C. Lusty, T. Michael, S. Myles, K. Naito, R.L. Nelson, R. Pontarollo, C.M. Richards, L.H. Rieseberg, J. Ross-Ibarra, S. Rounsley, R. Sackville Hamilton, U. Schurr, N. Stein, N. Tomooka, E. van der Knaap, D. van Tassel, J. Toll, J. Valls, R.K. Varshney, J. Ward, R. Waugh, P. Wenzl, and D. Zamir. 2013. Agriculture: feeding the future. Nature 499: 23-24.
  • Renaut, S., C.J. Grassa, S. Yeaman, B.T. Moyers, Z. Lai, N.C. Kane, J.E. Bowers, J.M. Burke, and L.H. Rieseberg. 2013 Genomic islands of divergence are not affected by geography of speciation in sunflower. Nat. Commun. 4: 1827.
  • Mandel, J.R., S. Nambeesan, J.E. Bowers, L.F. Marek, D. Ebert, L.H. Rieseberg, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2012. Association mapping and the genomic consequences of selection in sunflower. PLoS Genet. 9: e1003378.
  • Gevaert, S.D., J.R. Mandel, J.M. Burke, and L.A. Donovan. 2013. High genetic diversity and low population structure in Porter’s sunflower (Helianthus porteri). J. Hered. 14: 407-415.
  • Mandel, J.R., E.F. Milton, L.A. Donovan, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2013. Genetic diversity and population structure in the rare Algodones sunflower (Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes) and comparison to related sunflowers. Conserv. Genet. 14: 31-40.
  • Kane, N.C., J.M. Burke, L.F. Marek, G.J. Seiler, F. Vear, S.J. Knapp, P. Vincourt, and L.H. Rieseberg. 2013. Sunflower genetic, genomic, and ecological resources. Mol. Ecol. Res. 13: 10-20.
  • Bowers, J.E., S. Nambeesan, J. Corbi, M.S. Barker, L.H. Rieseberg, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2012. Development of an ultra-dense genetic map of the sunflower genome based on single-feature polymorphisms. PLoS ONE 7: e51360.
  • Staton, S.E., B. Hartman Bakken, B.K. Blackman, M.A. Chapman, N.C. Kane, S. Tang, M.C. Ungerer, S.J. Knapp, L.H. Rieseberg, and J.M. Burke. 2012. The sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) genome reflects a recent history of biased accumulation of transposable elements. Plant J. 72: 142-153.
  • Chapman, M.A. and J.M. Burke. 2012. Evidence of selection on fatty acid biosynthetic genes during the evolution of cultivated sunflower. Theor. Appl. Genet. 125: 897-907.
  • Bowers, J.E., E. Bachlava, R.L. Brunick, L.H. Rieseberg, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2012. Development of a 10,000 locus genetic map of the sunflower genome based on multiple crosses. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 2: 721-729.
  • Chapman, M.A., S. Tang, D. Draeger, S. Nambeesan, H. Shaffer, J.G. Barb, S.J. Knapp, and J.M. Burke. 2012. The genetics of floral symmetry in van Gogh’s sunflowers reveals independent recruitment of CYCLOIDEA genes in the Asteraceae. PLoS Genetics 8: e1002628.
  • Lai, Z., N.C. Kane, A. Kozik, K.A. Hodgins, K.M. Dlugosch, M.S. Barker, M. Matvienko, Q. Yu, K.G. Turner, S.A. Pearl, G.D.M. Bell, Y. Zou, C. Grassa, A. Guggisberg, K.L. Adams, J.V. Anderson, D.P. Horvath, R.V. Kesseli, J.M. Burke, R.W. Michelmore, and L.H. Rieseberg. 2012. Genomics of Compositae weeds: EST libraries, microarrays, and evidence of introgression. Am. J. Bot. 99: 209-218.
  • Bachlava, E., C.A Taylor, S. Tang, J.E. Bowers, J.R. Mandel, J.M. Burke, and S.J. Knapp. 2012. SNP discovery and development of a high-density genotyping array for sunflower. PLoS ONE 7: e29814.
  • Mandel, J.R., J.M. Dechaine, L.F. Marek, and J.M. Burke. 2011. Genetic diversity and population structure in cultivated sunflower and comparison to its wild progenitor Helianthus annuus L. Theor. Appl. Genet. 123: 693-704.
  • Kane, N.C., N. Gill, M.G. King, J.E. Bowers, H. Berges, J. Gouzy, E. Bachlava, N.B. Langlade, Z. Lai, M. Stewart, J.M. Burke, P. Vincourt, S.J. Knapp, and L.H. Rieseberg. 2011. Progress towards a reference genome for sunflower. Botany 89: 429-437.
  • Blackman, B.K., D.A. Rasmussen, J.L. Strasburg, A.R. Raduski, J.M. Burke, S.J. Knapp, S.D. Michaels, and L.H. Rieseberg. 2011. Contributions of flowering time genes to sunflower domestication and improvement. Genetics, 187: 271-287.