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A genome wide view of the evolutionary processes shaping genetic variation in natural populations

Grant number: 14/50698-7
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2015 - December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Cooperation agreement: BBSRC, UKRI
Principal Investigator:Reinaldo Otávio Alvarenga Alves de Brito
Grantee:Reinaldo Otávio Alvarenga Alves de Brito
Principal investigator abroad: Jason Barry Wolf
Institution abroad: University of Bath, England
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Explaining the presence of genetic variation in fitness related traits is a fundamental problem in evolutíonary genetics because we expect selection to erode such variation. So why then do we see 50 much genetic varialíon? One particularly striking example is lhe high genetic variabilily we typically observe for success in social interactions, a trail that has clear fitness consequences. To understand the presence of genetic variation, in the context of social interactions, we propose to employ a uníquely powerful integration of computational, genomíc and experimental approaches using the social amoeba D. discoideum. Specifically, we will: 1) Identify molecular variation underlying natural variation in social and non-social traits using high throughput phenotyping and genome sequencing of natural isolates, providing unprecedented insights lnto genetic architecture in natural microbial populations. 2) Understand the importance of pleiotropy in shaping variation by examining different fitness related traits to determine the degree to which lraits presumed to be under selection are controlled y lhe same loci, providing insights into the genetic constralnts (trade-offs) Ihat shape pattems of varíatíon. 3) Validate the causal role of genes associated with natural trait varialion by generating gene knock-out and allelic replacement straíns to experimentally confirm lhe causal influence and pleiotropic effects of genes putatively underlying natural genetic diversity. 4) Examine signatures of selection on social and non-social genes to understand the processes shaping diversily in genes identified by association analyses as well as those predicted or previously confirmed to play a role in social and non-social traits by experimental approaches. (AU)