During the past years, great progress has been made in connecting phenotypes to genotypes based on within-species variation. However, the more dramatic variation that can be found between species has not been explored for phenotype/genotype associations so-far. Using classical genetics to mine between-species variation is mostly impossible, because crosses between distinct species hardly work and their genomes are usually highly rearranged.
The goal of this project is to develop unprecedented genomics-based methods for inter-species (phylogenetic) association mapping, which can find signals even in highly re-arranged genomes of different species. To ensure that these methods are also useful in practice, we will apply them to the variation in secondary metabolites within the Brassicaceae plant family. Secondary metabolites are highly variable, genetically controlled, easy to measure and have broad application in cancer prevention, pest control and food design. Given the great potential of phylogenetic association mapping in general and secondary metabolites in particular, our work promises to be ground-breaking and have profound impact on many different fields of genetic research.
Specifically, our work plan includes the following points:
I) We will develop strategies for phylogenetic association mapping and implement them in publicly-available software.
II) We will establish a panel of inbred lines from ~200 Brassicaceae species and generate whole-genome assemblies for each of them.
III) We will exemplify the usefulness of phylogenetic association mapping by correlating the diversity of secondary metabolites to the differences in the respective genomes and validate the results by transforming or mutating candidate genes in appropriate species.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity
- /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/software
- /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/oncology/cancer
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/genome
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeERC-STG - Starting Grant