Ava Hoffman collects seeds from the prickly lettuce plants —a wild relative of the lettuce in our salads—that she grows in the Greenhouse on the Homewood campus. These plants sprung from seeds that her colleagues collected from prickly lettuce growing in a variety of environments in cities across the United States.
Hoffman, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Meghan Avolio, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, is growing these plants under a single set of conditions to determine what variation is linked to their origins versus what is coded in their DNA. Her goal: to understand how these tough plants have adapted to the stresses of city life.
By the numbers:
112: years the Greenhouse has been in existence
487: panes of glass
70: length of the Greenhouse in feet
80: hours Hoffman has spent in the Greenhouse so far
1.5 trillion: DNA bases sequenced by the end of Hoffman’s project