CORDIS - EU research results

Chromosomal inversions in Atlantic herring and adaptation to changing sea water temperature

Project description

Studying chromosomal inversion to learn more about ecological adaptation

Despite the great progress in evolutionary biology research, the inversion polymorphisms related to local adaptation remain an unexplored field. Using the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) as a case study, the EU-funded INVERT2ADAPT project will investigate the mechanisms behind the local adaptation based on chromosomal inversions. To achieve this, INVERT2ADAPT will use a series of diverse tools such as comparative genomics, phylogenomics, population genomics, gene expression and functional genomics. The project aspires to contribute to better understand the interactions between genotype, phenotype and environment and the role of the structural variation in the adaptation in natural populations.


Large chromosomal inversions have been increasingly linked to local adaptation in natural populations. Despite their importance, there is current debate about what evolutionary forces maintain inversion polymorphisms in natural populations, particularly regarding the interplay between balancing and divergent selection. Furthermore, limitations of sequencing technologies often result in poor characterization of inversion breakpoints obscuring our understanding of their functional impact. INVERT2ADAPT will focus on Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) as a model system to study the contribution of chromosomal inversions to local adaptation using multiple genomics tools. First, I will characterize the chromosomal inversions and date their origin relatively to the evolutionary history of Atlantic herring using comparative genomics and phylogenomics. Second, I will study the selection regimes that maintain the inversions across a gradient of sea water temperate using population genomics. Lastly, I will pinpoint the genes and regulatory elements within the inversions that are involved in adaptation to sea water temperature using gene expression and functional genomics. The project will allow to better understand how Atlantic herring is able to survive across a wide range of sea water temperature in the Atlantic Ocean. A clear establishment of the link between linking genotype, phenotype and environment is important to understand how Atlantic herring might adapt to changes in sea water temperature induced by global warming. INVERT2ADAPT will also contribute to a better understanding of how structural variation, including large chromosomal inversions, contribute to adaptation in natural populations. The project will be implemented in Uppsala University under the supervision of Professor Leif Andersson.


Net EU contribution
€ 206 887,68
751 05 Uppsala

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Östra Sverige Östra Mellansverige Uppsala län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data