Ursprunget till fenotypisk variation: koppling av genetik, epigenetik och näring

Tidsperiod: 2021-01-01 till 2024-12-31

Projektledare: Abderrahman Khila

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 3 135 200 SEK

We aim to establish a functional link between variation at the phenotypic level and variation at the molecular level under the influence of nutrition. Phenotypic variation is widespread in nature and represents a major pillar of evolution by natural selection. Yet, our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for generating and maintaining phenotypic variation remains limited. We address this question using Microvelia longipes – a new insect model with extreme phenotypic variation of a male exaggerated sexually selected trait. We propose three work packages asking a series of questions: WP1. Contribution of epi-genetic variation to phenotypic variation: What is the contribution of variation in DNA methylation to phenotypic variation? How does nutrition alter DNA methylation states during development? How does variation in DNA methylation correlate with variation in gene expression? What fraction of the methylation marks is heritable? WP2. Disentangling the roles of genetic variation and epigenetic variation: What is the contribution of genetic variation to phenotypic variation? How does polymorphism in methylation sites affect phenotypic variation? How is this polymorphism represented in natural populations? WP3. Functional link between molecular and phenotypic variation: What is the function of the methylated loci during development? Results from this project will greatly further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying developmental phenotypic plasticity.