Dr Danielle Roodt

Postdoctoral Fellow


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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My PhD research focuses on the evolution and development of xylogenesis in land plant lineages. Since most research has focused on the angiosperms, I am filling the gap in our knowledge of xylogenesis evolution by producing genomic resources for the three non-coniferous gymnosperms (Gnetales, cycads and ginkgo). Additionally, I am comparing genomes of eudicots (such as Eucalyptus and Populus) and monocots (such as maize and rice) to better understand the evolution of secondary cell wall genes within the angiosperms. The angiosperms also show high prevalence for whole genome duplications (WGDs), which may have aided in their fast rise to ecological dominance, while these events are much rarer in the gymnosperms. As part of my PhD, I investigated whether evidence existed for remnants of ancient WGDs in the non-coniferous gymnosperms, and my manuscript entitled “Evidence for an ancient whole genome duplication in the cycad lineage” was published by the scientific journal PLoS ONE. Studying the evolution of genomes and biosynthetic pathways that lead to xylogenesis is of interest to a range of scientific fields, including evolutionary and developmental biology, systematics biology, botany and biotechnology. I hope to lay the groundwork for future scientists from a diversity of backgrounds to add their own knowledge to what we are discovering of the evolution and development of wood. This research is one of the first to adopt an 'evo-devo' approach to wood biology, and will open up new research avenues in these economically and ecologically important species.


Science has always been an important part of my life. I grew up in an environment where asking questions were more important than getting answers and where knowledge ruled supreme. For this reason I am continuing my studies in science; to generate new knowledge and share what I discover and learn. Completing my postgraduate studies in FABI is the perfect environment to live out this dream.

My Galeries

Light microscopy


FABI rewards excellence and looks to the future at 2018 year-end function

FABIans reflected on the gains of the year and looked forward to 2019 and beyond at the annual year-end function and awards ceremony on 17 November.

The South African Women in Science Awards 2018 recognises the contributions of two FABIans

The FABI flag flew high at this year’s SAWiSA gala event held at The Ranch Resort in Polokwane on Thursday 23 August, with two representatives attending as finalists: Dr Irene Barnes, a research leader in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), and Danielle Roodt, a PhD candidate in the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme.

FABIan wins ASPB Travel Award

Danielle Roodt, a PhD student in the FMG Research Programme and FABI, has been awarded an American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Travel Award to attend and present her research at the upcoming Plant Biology Conference, a joint meeting of the ASPB, Canadian Society of Plant Biologists and the International Society of Photosynthesis Research.

Export to RIS
Roodt D, Li Z, Van de Peer Y, Mizrachi E. (2019) Loss of wood formation genes in monocot genomes. Genome Biology and Evolution 7(1):1986-1996. https://bit.ly/2WvIe8V PDF
van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, McTaggart AR, Van Wyk S, De Vos L, Trollip C, Santana QC, Naidoo K, Dong TA, Wilken PM, Chan W-Y, Palmer M, Soal NA, Roodt D, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield BD. (2019) Genomic analysis of the aggressive tree pathogen Ceratocystis albifundus. Fungal Biology 10.1016/j.funbio.2019.02.002 PDF
Roodt D, Lohaus R, Sterck L, Swanepoel RL, Van de Peer Y, Mizrachi E. (2017) Evidence for an ancient whole genome duplication in the cycad lineage. PLOS ONE 12(9):e0184454. 10.1371/journal.pone.0184454
van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, Wilken PM, Coetzee MPA, Naidoo K, Roodt D, Sauerman E, Godlonton T, Trollip C, McTaggart AR, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield BD. (2015) Saprophytic and pathogenic fungi in the Ceratocystidaceae differ in their ability to metabolize plant-derived sucrose. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:273. 10.1186/s12862-015-0550-7 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Beirn LA, Crouch JA, Demers JE, De Beer ZW, De Vos L, Gordon TR, Moncalvo JM, Naidoo K, Sanchez-Ramirez S, Roodt D, Santana QC, Slinksi SL, Stata M, Taerum SJ, Wilken PM, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genomes of Amanita jacksonii, Ceratocystis albifundus, Fusarium circinatum, Huntiella omanensis, Leptographium procerum, Rutstroemia sydowiana, and Sclerotinia echinophila. IMA Fungus 5(2):473-486. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.02.11 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Bihon W, De Vos L, Naidoo K, Roodt D, Rubagotti E, Slippers B, Steenkamp ET, Wilken PM, Wilson A, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genome sequences of Diplodia sapinea, Ceratocystis manginecans, and Ceratocystis moniliformis. IMA Fungus 5(1):135-140. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.01.13 PDF