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PhD defence

Evolution and development of orchid flowers and fruits

  • D. Pramanik
Wednesday 13 September 2023
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. E.F. Smets
  • dr. B. Gravendeel


The study of orchid flowers, fruits, and inflorescences is crucial due to the remarkable diversity of orchid species and their unique adaptations to pollinators and seed dispersers. However, our understanding of the evolution and development of these organs within the orchid family remains limited. This research aims to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution and development of floral structures, fruits and resupination in orchids, and the relationship between inflorescence stalk lignification and orientation. The research also includes a methodological chapter on the application of transcriptomics for plant species identification. Using advanced techniques such as microscopy imaging, 3D CT scanning, and anatomical analysis, the study provides detailed insights into the processes of root and fruit resupination and shows that inflorescence lignification is a heritable trait, with closely related orchid species displaying similar levels of lignification compared to distantly related species.

The findings significantly advance our understanding of orchid biology by filling gaps in our knowledge of the evolutionary and developmental processes involved in flower and fruit development, resupination, and inflorescence lignification. By identifying specific genes and pathways associated with these traits, the study offers valuable insights into the genetic mechanisms that drive orchid diversity and adaptation. From a practical perspective, these findings hold great promise for the development of new orchid varieties with more robust and visually appealing varieties. The research also highlights the importance of conservation efforts to protect orchid diversity and their ecological relationships with pollinators and seed dispersal vectors.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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