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EpiCOL: Ecological and Evolutionary plant epigenetics (09-EuroEEFG-FP-048)

English title EpiCOL: Ecological and Evolutionary plant epigenetics (09-EuroEEFG-FP-048)
Applicant Bossdorf Oliver
Number 131171
Funding scheme Project funding (special)
Research institution Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.04.2010 - 30.09.2013
Approved amount 437'798.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ecology
Genetics

Keywords (7)

plasticity; stress tolerance; DNA methylation; epigenetics; global change; natural selection; rapid evolution

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
One of the fundamental principles in biology is that evolution by natural selection, and therefore the ability of populations to adapt to changing environments, requires heritable variation, i.e. genetically-based variation in phenotypic traits that are under selection. Until recently, such heritable variation was generally thought to require underlying DNA sequence variation. Thus, populations that lack DNA sequence variation were assumed be unable to evolve. However, there is now increasing evidence that epigenetic modifications of the genome, such as DNA methylation or histone modifications - which regulate gene activity and therefore ultimately the phenotype - can be heritable, too, and that there can be epigenetic variation within and among natural populations which is independent of DNA sequence variation. Moreover, epigenetic variation can sometimes be altered direct by the environment, which suggests that such heritable epigenetic variation might be an important and hitherto overlooked component of biodiversity and an additional mechanism for organisms to respond to environmental change.Our project is part of a larger pan-European project (involving partners from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and France) that attempts to address these exciting questions about the ecological and evolutionary relevance of epigenetic variation and epigenetic inheritance in several connected sub-projects.In our project, we will test the hypothesis that evolution by natural selection can occur even in the absence of DNA sequence variation, based on heritable epigenetic variation only. We will use selection experiments, and a recently developed, unique set of genotypically near-identical but epigenetically distinct recombinant inbred lines (epiRILs) of Arabidopsis thaliana to study epigenetic evolution "in action". The specific objectives of our project are (i) to characterise 100+ epiRILs with regard to their drought and pathogen resistance, (ii) to subject replicated experimental populations of these epiRILs to at least 3-4 generations of natural or artificial selection imposed by experimental drought and/or pathogens, and (iii) to quantify the response to this selection both in terms of phenotypic shifts as well as shifts in epigenotype frequencies.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Epigenetic diversity increases the productivity and stability of plant populations
Latzel Vit, Allan Eric, Silveira Amanda Bortolini, Colot Vincent, Fischer Markus, Bossdorf Oliver (2013), Epigenetic diversity increases the productivity and stability of plant populations, in NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 4, 2875.
Epigenetic variation creates potential for evolution of plant phenotypic plasticity
Zhang Yuan-Ye, Fischer Markus, Colot Vincent, Bossdorf Oliver (2013), Epigenetic variation creates potential for evolution of plant phenotypic plasticity, in NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 197(1), 314-322.
Epigenetic variation in plant responses to defence hormones
Latzel Vit, Zhang Yuanye, Moritz Kim Karlsson, Fischer Markus, Bossdorf Oliver (2012), Epigenetic variation in plant responses to defence hormones, in ANNALS OF BOTANY, 110(7), 1423-1428.
Evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation
Richards Christina L., Verhoeven Koen J. F., Bossdorf Oliver (2012), Evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation, in Wendel Jonathan F. (ed.), Springer, Vienna, 257-274.
A truly ecological epigenetics study
Bossdorf Oliver, Zhang Yuanye (2011), A truly ecological epigenetics study, in MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, 20(8), 1572-1574.
Epigenetics of colonizing species? A study on Japanese knotweed in Central Europe.
Zhang Yuanye, Parepa Madalin, Fischer Markus, Bossdorf Oliver, Epigenetics of colonizing species? A study on Japanese knotweed in Central Europe., in Barrett Spencer (ed.), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK, 328-340.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
University of Hohenheim Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Frontiers in Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics Talk given at a conference How general and how predictable are parental environmental effects? A comprehensive test with Arabidopsis thaliana 26.01.2013 Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands Zhang Yuan-Ye; Bossdorf Oliver; Latzel Vit; Fischer Markus;
Frontiers in Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics Talk given at a conference Rapid epigenetically-based evolution in experimenal plant populations 26.01.2013 Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands Bossdorf Oliver; Zhang Yuan-Ye; Latzel Vit; Fischer Markus;
COST Plant Epigenetics Workshop Talk given at a conference Ecological and Evolutionary Significance of Epigenetic Variation 13.01.2013 Kandersteg, Switzerland Bossdorf Oliver;
GDRE Comparative Genomics Talk given at a conference Evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation in plants 22.11.2012 Lyon, France Bossdorf Oliver;
Global Change in the Mediterranean Symposium Talk given at a conference Evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation 15.11.2012 Sevilla, Spain Bossdorf Oliver;
97th Annual Meeting of Ecological Society of America (ESA) Talk given at a conference Epigenetic variation create evolutionary potential 05.08.2012 Portland, United States of America Zhang Yuan-Ye; Bossdorf Oliver; Latzel Vit; Fischer Markus;
SWISSPLANT 2012 Talk given at a conference Ecological and evolutionary plant epigenetics 18.01.2012 Meiringen, Switzerland Bossdorf Oliver;
PopBio 2012: Revisiting important questions and defining new horizons Talk given at a conference Epigenetic diversity increases ecosystem functioning 17.01.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Bossdorf Oliver; Zhang Yuan-Ye; Latzel Vit; Fischer Markus;
PopBio 2012: Revisiting important questions and defining new horizons Talk given at a conference Putting epigenetic variation into perspective: a comparison of phenotypic variation among epiRILs, RILs and natural populations of Arabidopsis thaliana 17.01.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Fischer Markus; Zhang Yuan-Ye; Bossdorf Oliver;
ESF-EMBO symposium Epigenetics in Context: from Ecology to Evolution Poster Epigenetic variation can cause heritable variation in complex traits and phenotypic plasticity 18.09.2011 Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain Latzel Vit; Zhang Yuan-Ye; Bossdorf Oliver; Fischer Markus;
ESF-EMBO symposium Epigenetics in Context: from Ecology to Evolution Talk given at a conference Epigenetic diversity promotes resistance to pathogens and competition 18.09.2011 Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain Fischer Markus; Latzel Vit; Bossdorf Oliver; Zhang Yuan-Ye;
European Society of Evolutionary Biology Conference 2011 Talk given at a conference Epigenetic variation can cause heritable variation in complex traits and phenotypic plasticity 20.08.2011 Tübingen, Germany Zhang Yuan-Ye; Bossdorf Oliver; Fischer Markus;
European Society of Evolutionary Biology Conference 2011 Talk given at a conference Epigenetic variation causes heritable variation in induced plant defences and pathogen resistance 20.08.2011 Tübingen, Germany Zhang Yuan-Ye; Bossdorf Oliver; Fischer Markus; Latzel Vit;
Epigenetics & Evolution (16th Seminar Day of SFB 680 Molecular Basis of Evolutionary Innovations) Talk given at a conference Asking epigenetic questions in plant evolutionary ecology 26.01.2011 Köln, Germany Bossdorf Oliver;
Swiss Plant Science Web PhD Summer School "Terrestrial Ecosystem Dynamics in a Changing World" Talk given at a conference Epigenetics and plant responses to environmental change 21.01.2011 Mürren, Switzerland Bossdorf Oliver;
Plant Population Biology Conference (PopBio 2013) Talk given at a conference Epigenetically-based rapid evolution of experimental plant populations 09.01.2011 Tartu, Estonia Latzel Vit; Fischer Markus; Bossdorf Oliver; Zhang Yuan-Ye;
BASIC AND APPLIED PLANT POPULATION BIOLOGY (PopBio 2011) Talk given at a conference Epigenetic Variation causes Heritable Variation in Induced Plant Defences and Pathogen Resistance 02.01.2011 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Zhang Yuan-Ye; Latzel Vit; Bossdorf Oliver; Fischer Markus;
BASIC AND APPLIED PLANT POPULATION BIOLOGY (PopBio 2011) Talk given at a conference Epigenetic Variation can cause Heritable Variation in Complex Traits and Phenotypic Plasticity 02.01.2011 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Fischer Markus; Bossdorf Oliver; Zhang Yuan-Ye;
Evolutionary and ecological genomics of adaptation Poster Testing the ecological and evolutionary relevance of  heritable epigenetic variation: a project outline 02.09.2010 Fribourg, Switzerland Zhang Yuan-Ye;
Plant Population Biology: Crossing Borders Poster Testing the ecological and evolutionary relevance of heritable epigenetic variation: a project outline 13.05.2010 Nijmegen, Netherlands Bossdorf Oliver; Zhang Yuan-Ye;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Frontiers in Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics 26.01.2013 Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands
Epigenetics in Context: from Ecology to Evolution 28.09.2011 Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain
Plant epigenetics (Symposium at ESEB 2011 conference) 21.08.2011 Tübingen, Germany

Awards

Title Year
On 21 October 2013, Oliver Bossdorf received the Gold Medal of the Teylers Foundation in Haarlem, The Netherlands, for his work on the ecological and evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation, including the work supported by the SNF grant no. 31EE30-131171. http://www.teylersmuseum.eu/index.php?item=119&page=99&lang=nl http://www.nioo.knaw.nl/en/news/teylers-medal 2013

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