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A toolbox for fitness landscapes in evolution

Descrizione del progetto

Valutare la teoria dei paesaggi adattivi

I processi di adattamento dell’uomo ai nuovi ambienti rappresentano una grande sfida nella biologia evolutiva. Da decenni si discute del ruolo dell’epistasi, il fenomeno dell’effetto del patrimonio genetico sulle mutazioni e fattore chiave nell’adattamento. Per affrontare la questione è stato utilizzato il concetto di paesaggio adattivo, che illustra il rapporto tra genotipi e successo riproduttivo. Oggi è possibile valutare questa teoria. Il progetto FIT2GO, finanziato dall’UE, svilupperà la teoria dei paesaggi adattivi, con l’obiettivo di quantificare l’epistasi attraverso strutture e ambienti biologici, studiandone il ruolo sulla genetica di adattamento e ibridazione delle popolazioni. I risultati dovrebbero rivelare il potenziale di previsione di metodi per resistere agli agenti patogeni.

Obiettivo

A major challenge in evolutionary biology is to quantify the processes and mechanisms by which populations adapt to new environments. In particular, the role of epistasis, which is the genetic-background dependent effect of mutations, and the constraints it imposes on adaptation, has been contentious for decades. This question can be approached using the concept of a fitness landscape: a map of genotypes or phenotypes to fitness, which dictates the dynamics and the possible paths towards increased reproductive success. This analogy has inspired a large body of theoretical work, in which various models of fitness landscapes have been proposed and analysed. Only recently, novel experimental approaches and advances in sequencing technologies have provided us with large empirical fitness landscapes at impressive resolution, which call for the evaluation of the related theory.

The aim of this proposal is to build on the theory of fitness landscapes to quantify epistasis across levels of biological organization and across environments, and to study its impact on the population genetics of adaptation and hybridization. Each work package involves classical theoretical modelling, statistical inference and method development, and data analysis and interpretation; a combination of approaches for which my research group has strong expertise. In addition, we will perform experimental evolution in Escherichia coli and influenza to test hypotheses related to the change of fitness effects across environments, and to adaptation by means of highly epistatic mutations. We will specifically apply our methods to evaluate the potential for predicting routes to drug resistance in pathogens. The long-term goal lies in the development of a modeling and inference framework that utilizes fitness landscape theory to infer the ecological history of a genome, which may ultimately allow for a prediction of its future adaptive potential.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Istituzione ospitante

UNIVERSITAET BERN
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 1 121 811,25
Indirizzo
HOCHSCHULSTRASSE 6
3012 Bern
Svizzera

Mostra sulla mappa

Regione
Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Espace Mittelland Bern / Berne
Tipo di attività
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Collegamenti
Costo totale
€ 1 121 811,25

Beneficiari (2)