Picture of Dr. Martin Mau

Dr. Martin Mau PhD, Diplom-Biologist Research Scientist

I am interested in understanding and harnessing functional principles of native plants to solve food safety problems by creating novel breeding strategies and implementing novel traits in crops to enhance their adaptability, resilience and productivity. Currently, I am leading a research team to investigate the spread of asexual propagation via seeds (i.e. apomixis) into mustard crops such as Canola and Brassica rapa by performing large scale intergeneric crosses. In a parallel approach, we are applying a comprehensive backcrossing strategy in combination with next generation sequencing technologies to identify all of the genetic factors that contribute to apomictic reproduction using a single holistic approach. This research will facilitate the engineering of an “apomixis gene cassette” for the universal transfer and induction of apomixis in crops.

College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, Room 6D64, Agriculture Building , 51 Campus Drive University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, Sk, S7N 5A8

Research Area(s)

  • Reproductive biology
  • Molecular plant genetics and comparative genomics
  • Plant breeding
  • Pollen genetics and phenotyping


  • PhD - Heidelberg University / MPI-CE, Jena / IPK Gatersleben, Germany
  • Dipl.-Biol. - University of Würzburg, Germany

Research Projects

  1. “Preserving hybrid vigour through a novel apomixis breeding strategy in Brassica crops” (ADF/SaskCanola #20180141, 2019-2023, Co-PI/project lead)
  2. "Development of methods to sort pollen in the apomictic plant Boechera." (CLS Project #34G11943, 2021-2023, co-investigator)
  3.  “Embryological Analyses of Parthogenetic Embryo Sac Development in Intra-Specific and Inter-Generic Crosses Between Boechera and sexual Brassica Crops” (IRPF, 2022-2023, co-investigator)
  4.  "Mini chromosome development in Canola: a tool to fix heterosis using apomixis
    technology." (NFRFE-2021-01053, 2022-2024, co-investigator)

Selected Publications

M. Mau, T. Mandakova, X. Ma, J. Ebersbach, L. Zou, M. A. Lysak and T. F. Sharbel (2022) Evolution of an apomixis-specific allele class in supernumerary chromatin of apomictic Boechera. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, 13, doi:10.3389/fpls.2022.890038.

M. Mau, T. Liiving, L. Fomenko, R. Goertzen, D. Paczesniak, L. Böttner, T. F. Sharbel (2021) The spread of infectious asexuality through haploid pollen. New Phytologist 230(2):804-820. doi:10.1111/nph.17174.

Ma, X., Mau, M., Sharbel, T. F. (2018) Genome Editing for Global Food Security, Trends in Biotechnology (36) 2, 123-127, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tibtech.2017.08.004.

Mau M., Lovell J T., Corral  J. M., Kiefer C., Koch M. A., Aliyu O. M., Sharbel T. F. (2015) Hybrid apomicts trapped in the ecological niches of their sexual ancestors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (18), E2357-E2365, doi:10.1073/pnas.1423447112.

Mau M., Corral J. M., Vogel H., Melzer M., Fuchs J., Kuhlmann M., de Storme N., Geelen D., Sharbel T. F. (2013) The conserved chimeric transcript UPGRADE-2 is associated with unreduced pollen formation and is exclusively found in apomictic Boechera species. Plant Physiology 163, 1640-1659, doi:10.1104/pp.113.222448

Nico De Storme, Linda Zamariola, Martin Mau, Timothy F. Sharbel, and Danny Geelen (2013) Volumetric pollen analysis as a rapid assessment of somatic and gametophytic ploidy and the mode of reproduction in flowering plants. Plant Reproduction, 26(2):65-81. doi:10.1007/s00497-012-0209-0.

Lovell, J. T., Aliyu, O. M., Mau, M., Schranz, E. M., Koch, M., Kiefer, C., Song, B.-H., Mitchell-Olds, T., Sharbel, T. F. (2013) On the origin and evolution of apomixis in Boechera. Plant Reproduction 26(4): 309–315, doi:10.1007/s00497-013-0218-7.

M. Pellino, T. F. Sharbel, M. Mau, S. Amiteye and J. M. Corral (2011) Selection of reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR expression studies of microdissected reproductive tissues in apomictic and sexual Boechera. BMC Research Notes, 4: 303, doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-303.

Galla G., Zenoni S., Marconi G., Marino G., Botton A., Pinosa F., Citterio S., Ruperti B., Palme K., Albertini E., Pezzotti M., Mau M., Sharbel T. F., De Storme N., Geelen D. and Barcaccia G. (2011) Sporophytic and gametophytic functions of the cell cycle-associated Mob1 gene in Arabidopsis thaliana. Gene. 484(1-2):1-12. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2011.05.009.