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Victor Albert

Empire Innovation Professor of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences


Plant evolutionary biology; evolution of carnivorous plants; genomes of Amborella, avocado, birch, coffee and gardenia; comparative genomics; junk DNA

Victor Albert is an evolutionary biologist.

His research focuses on the origins and evolution of flowering plants, and his interests in the field are wide-ranging.

They include sequencing new plant genomes and comparing the DNA of different plant species to understand their evolution, including whole genome duplications, genetic variation, genetic adaptations, and the genetic basis for phenomena such as convergent evolution (in which species that are distantly related evolve similar traits) and adaptive radiations (in which plants diversify rapidly into new species).

Albert frequently collaborates with large international teams to sequence and analyze the genomes of agriculturally important plants — work that helps to lay a foundation for genome-breeding efforts.

He co-led studies that sequenced and analyzed the genomes of coffee, birch, Amborella and the carnivorous bladderwort. He also made important contributions to a project that sequenced the gardenia genome.

Over the years, Albert’s research has revealed many fascinating details about the evolution of flowering plants. For instance, an analysis of the coffee genome showed that certain enzymes that help produce caffeine evolved independently in coffee, tea and chocolate (an example of convergent evolution). Separately, a study on the bladderwort revealed that just 3 percent of its genome is junk DNA, the gene-less DNA that makes up most of the human genome. This sparked debate about the role of junk DNA in complex organisms.


Victor Albert, PhD
Empire Innovation Professor of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences