Evolutionary Genetics and Eco-Evolutionary Modelling

Our research focuses on theoretical questions in evolutionary and quantitative genetics. We seek to better understand how the genetic characteristics of living systems affect the process of adaptation and how such characteristics may be moulded by evolutionary forces. For instance, we study the evolution of the genotype-phenotype map of polygenic traits and the adaptive consequences of gene pleiotropy on species' adaptation to heterogeneous environments. We use both theoretical and experimental approaches. We use experimental evolution and NGS technologies with the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum as our model species to study the evolution of gene expression in the course of adaptation to novel habitats.

Ecology also plays an important role in our research as we are interested in how species respond to rapid environmental changes from an eco-evolutionary point of view, integrating empirical data with computer modelling. We aim at building integrative approaches to help predict species' range evolution under climate and global changes.

Our modelling work is based on Nemo, an individual-based, genetically and spatially explicit simulation platform. Nemo is distributed under the GNU Public License. It can simulate the simultaneous evolution of several traits such as neutral markers, deleterious mutations, and multivariate quantitative traits in a metapopulation framework.

Head of group: Prof. Dr. Frédéric Guillaume

Research themes

  • Evolutionary quantitative genetics of complex traits
  • Epistatis, pleiotropy, and the evolution of the genotype-phenotype map
  • Genetic constraints on adaptation and the evolution of species' ranges
  • Role of gene expression variation in adaptation
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics under environmental changes
  • Population and quantitative genetics theory

Media

May 2017:

Media coverage on:

A dynamic eco-evolutionary model predicts slow response of alpine plants to climate warming. Cotto et al. Nature Communications, 8, 15399, 05 May 2017

Selected publications

  • Koch EL, and F Guillaume. 2020. Restoring ancestral phenotypes is a general pattern in gene expression evolution during adaptation to new environments in Tribolium castaneum. Molecular Ecology DOI : 10.1111/mec.15607.
  • Cotto O, Schmid M, and F Guillaume. 2020. Nemo-age: spatially explicit simulations of eco-evolutionary dynamics in stage-structured populations under changing environments. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13460.
  • Koch EL, and F Guillaume. 2020. Additive and mostly adaptive plastic responses of gene expression to multiple stress in Tribolium castaneumPLoS genetics 16 (5), e1008768. DOI :  10.1371/journal.pgen.1008768.
  • Schmid M, Dallo R, and F Guillaume. 2019. Species' range dynamics affect the evolution of spatial variation in plasticity under environmental change. The American Naturalist 193:00-00. DOI : 10.1086/703171
  • Csilléry K, Rodríguez-Verdugo A, Rellstab C, and F Guillaume. 2018. Detecting the Genomic Signal of Polygenic Adaptation and the Role of Epistasis in Evolution. Molecular Ecology 27:606--612.  DOI: 10.1111/mec.14499
  • Chebib J, and F Guillaume. 2017. What affects the predictability of evolutionary constraints using a G-matrix? The relative effects of modular pleiotropy and mutational correlation. Evolution 71(10):2298-2312.  DOI: 10.1111/evo.13320
  • Cotto O, Wessely J, Georges D, Klonner G, Schmid M, Dullinger S, Thuiller W, Guillaume F. 2017. A dynamic eco-evolutionary model predicts slow response of alpine plants to climate warming. Nature Communications 8:15399. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15399

Software

Nemo: forward-time, individual-based, genetically and spatially explicit, stochastic simulation programme for population and quantitative genetics.

Nemo-age: spatially explicit simulations of eco-evolutionary dynamics in stage-structured populations under changing environments (age/stage structured version of Nemo).