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Developmental genetics and adaptive bases of a major ecological transition - How to walk on water!

Developmental genetics and adaptive bases of a major ecological transition - How to walk on water!

Obiettivo

Evolutionary developmental biology has provided invaluable contributions to our understanding of the relationship between genotypic and phenotypic change. Similarly, evolutionary ecology greatly advanced our understanding of the relationship between the phenotype and the environment. To fully understand the evolution of the organismal diversity, a thorough integration of these fields is required, and this remains highly challenging. Semi-aquatic insects (Heteroptera, Gerromorpha) have conquered water surfaces worldwide and represent by far the dominating group of insects in these habitats. Their well-understood ecology of adaptation constitutes the necessary foundation for integrative studies.
We will dissect the developmental genetic basis of key morphological adaptations associated with the ecological transition from ground to water surfaces. A morphological character that has been critical to this transition is the evolution of hydrophobic bristles, whose density, morphology, and orientation, allow the trapping of air at the leg–water interface. A second spectacular adaptation, that followed this invasion, is the occupation of running waters by some members of the family Veliidae. This was facilitated by the evolution of a swimming fan on the tarsus of the propelling mid-legs, which greatly enhances their movement on running waters.
The objective of this project is to develop a multi-level approach to study how the interplay between developmental genetic pathways and the ecological environment can drive morphological evolution. We will take full advantage of the unique foundation in terms of ecology, diversity, and technical tractability that water-walking insects offer, combined with the use of next generation sequencing along with assays of gene function and organismal fitness. This approach is a critical step forwards in evo-devo and will provide a coupling of molecular function to concrete measure of fitness associated with the phenotype.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinatore

ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE DE LYON

Indirizzo

Parvis Rene Descartes 15
69342 Lyon

Francia

Tipo di attività

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

Contributo UE

€ 194 046,60

Contatto amministrativo

Abderrahman Khila (Dr.)

Informazioni relative al progetto

ID dell’accordo di sovvenzione: 628644

Stato

Progetto concluso

  • Data di avvio

    1 Aprile 2015

  • Data di completamento

    31 Marzo 2017

Finanziato da:

FP7-PEOPLE

  • Bilancio complessivo:

    € 194 046,60

  • Contributo UE

    € 194 046,60

Coordinato da:

ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE DE LYON

Francia