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Genetic determinants of adaptive variation and their evolution in structured populations

Gesuchsteller/in Guillaume Frédéric
Nummer 141987
Förderungsinstrument Ambizione
Forschungseinrichtung Institut für Integrative Biologie Departement Umweltwissenschaften ETHZ
Hochschule ETH Zürich - ETHZ
Hauptdisziplin Genetik
Beginn/Ende 01.08.2012 - 31.12.2013
Bewilligter Betrag 376'870.00
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Alle Disziplinen (2)


Keywords (8)

adaptive evolution; gene flow; Tribolium castaneum; evolutionary quantitative genetics; experimental evolution; G-matrix; genetic architecture; pleiotropy

Lay Summary (Englisch)

Lay summary

How do species adapt to current shifts in their environment? What are the factors that limit or enhance species adaptation to climatic changes? I am addressing these broad questions with a mix of modeling and experimental approaches. In the first part, I am interested in the impact of the genetic architecture of adaptive quantitative traits on the evolution of the geographical range of a species. Most species show a high degree of adaptation to their local conditions at continental scales but those conditions are currently changing at an unprecedented pace due to climate change. Natural selection thus varies through space and time and is acting on more than one adaptive character. The phenotypic correlation that often exist among quantitative traits means that they are likely not genetically independent from each other, and that they may impede each other's adaptive response to selection. It is thus essential to understand how the multivariate genetic architecture of quantitative traits interact with the processes of fluctuating selection pressures and gene flow to set the extent of a species' range. The modeling approach proposed will help better understand the potential detrimental effects of genetic correlations among traits on the rate of adaptation of a species under climatic changes. The models developed will help integrate ecological and quantitative genetics information into a single eco-evolutionary forecasting framework that will enable us to better predict the impact of climate change on the persistence of a species and the evolution of its range. The method will be applied to a variety plant species for which empirical data are available.

An empirical part will complement the modeling part. The aim here is to test for the balancing effects of gene flow on adaptation to divergent environments using experimental evolution in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Gene flow can enhance adaptation by increasing the amount of genetic variance available for adaptation, or impede it by bringing maladapted alleles in the populations. Empirical measures will inform us on the relative importance of these effects.

Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

Verantw. Gesuchsteller/in und weitere Gesuchstellende



Epistasis and pleiotropy affect the modularity of the genotype-phenotype map of cross-resistance in HIV-1.
(2016), Epistasis and pleiotropy affect the modularity of the genotype-phenotype map of cross-resistance in HIV-1., in Molecular biology and evolution, 33(12), 3213-3225.
Gene functional trade-offs and the evolution of pleiotropy
(2012), Gene functional trade-offs and the evolution of pleiotropy, in Genetics, 192, 1389-1409.


Gruppe / Person Land
Formen der Zusammenarbeit
Prof. Sarah Otto/UBC Vancouver Kanada (Nordamerika)
- Publikation
Dr. Sam Yaman/UBC Vancouver Kanada (Nordamerika)
- vertiefter/weiterführender Austausch von Ansätzen, Methoden oder Resultaten
- Publikation

Verbundene Projekte

Nummer Titel Start Förderungsinstrument
121697 Genetic determinants of adaptive variation and their evolution in structured populations 01.08.2009 Ambizione
144846 Causes and consequences of genetic constraints on adaptation: From gene pleiotropy to species' range evolution 01.01.2014 SNF-Förderungsprofessuren


In this project, I am addressing fundamental questions on the evolutionary consequences and determinants of genetic constraints on species adaptation. Genetic constraints stem from the pleiotropic effects and linkage disequilibria of the genes coding for a set of phenotypic traits. They result in measurable genetic and phenotypic correlations among traits that have the potential to limit the adaptive capacity of a species. As such, I am interested in the potential detrimental effects of genetic constraints on species adaptation to climatic conditions at continental scales. I propose to establish the role of genetic correlations in influencing, and possibly limiting the geographical range of a species under both spatial and temporal variation of selection pressures. I propose to develop models of adaptation to multiple ecological conditions, expanding the current univariate quantitative genetics approach to incorporate multivariate selection. One key question is to understand how species adapt to current shifts in their environment and to delineate the conditions most favorable for their persistence. Empirical data will be incorporated in the modeling part and will help develop a predictive modeling framework. Field estimates of genetic co-variation (G-matrix) of ecologically relevant traits and local climate data will serve to predict the dynamics of population adaptation to different scenarios of climate change. A collaboration is starting with Prof. Yvonne Willi at Uni. Neuchâtel who works on Arabidopsis lyrata. This approach is complemented with an experimental study of adaptation to complex environments in the presence of gene flow in the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum), in collaboration with Dr. Oliver Y. Martin (ETHZ).