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STRESSFLEA: How to live in a mosaic of STRESSors - an ecological genomics approach on the water FLEA (09-EuroEEFG-FP-040)Daphnia

English title STRESSFLEA: How to live in a mosaic of STRESSors - an ecological genomics approach on the water FLEA (09-EuroEEFG-FP-040)
Applicant Ebert Dieter
Number 132783
Funding scheme Project funding (special)
Research institution Zoologisches Institut Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Genetics
Start/End 01.09.2010 - 31.08.2013
Approved amount 332'166.00
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All Disciplines (2)


Keywords (10)

stress biology; resurrection ecology; candidate genes; genome scans; transcriptome sequencing; local adaptation; Daphnia; stress; environment; genomics

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Waterfleas of the genus Daphnia, like many other organisms, cope with periods of acute environmental stress by producing diapause stages (= ephippia or resting stages). Populations that suffer frequently from stress events, like freezing in winter or drying in summer, typically have a much higher propensity of ephippia production than populations that live in more permanent habitats. In addition, because males are required for resting stage production in Daphnia magna, the same populations also have higher propensities to produce males. The production of resting eggs and males is costly but unavoidable if the habitat does not allow the planktonic animals to survive throughout the year. Both traits show a clear signature of local adaptation. Daphnia magna populations from the high north and from very continental climatic regions (e.g. Northern Europe), and populations from small ponds that frequently desiccate in summer (e.g. Southern Europe) show a very high propensity to produce males and ephippia. In contrast, populations in regions with a mild climate (e.g. Western coastal Europe (NL, BE, UK)) show a low propensity to produce males and ephippia. Hence, genes involved in these two traits are prime candidates for mediating adaptation to locally different freezing /desiccation regimes, two prominent environmental stress factors. Our aim is to study the genetic basis of this form of local adaptation and the molecular evolution of the genes involved in it, using a genomic approach. In a first step we will map the phenotypes on a genetic map, using a QTL approach. Next we will narrow down the region of the candidate genes with the help of the D. magna genome. Finally, we will investigate these genetic regions in several European populations of D. magna using genome scans. With this method we will be able to detect which genes are under diverging local selection.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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