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Detecting inversions across the species range of the rough periwinkle (Littorina saxatilis)

19 Jan 2022 - James Reeve, University of Gothenburg, Department of Marine Sciences-Tjärnö | 15h00
Detecting inversions across the species range of the rough periwinkle (<i>Littorina saxatilis</i>)

Inverted sections of DNA may play a key role in the origin of species, due to their ability to suppress gene flow between diverging populations. Beneficial traits are thought to cluster on these inversions. Recent empirical evidence supports the role inversions play in speciation, but these studies typically focused on a narrow geographic area, rarely considering the context of inversions across a species’ range. My research investigates 18 possible inversions in Littorina saxatilis which have been studied in depth in Sweden. I confirmed the presence of most of these inversions across the whole species range, considering both geographic and major habitat differences. This wide presence suggests an ancient association of the inversions with ongoing divergence.

James did his B.Sc. in Genetics and Zoology in 2015 at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, where he is originally from. During that period, he worked on the evolution of recombination rates in finite populations during ecological speciation under the supervision of Jan Engelstädter and Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos. He did his M.Sc. in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary, Canada on the genetic basis of convergent evolution among three species of fishes under the supervision of Sam Yeaman. In 2019, he started at Ph.D at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, on the role of inversions in diversification supervised by Roger Butlin and Kerstin Johanneson, and co-supervised by Rui Faria and Marina Rafajlovic. James is interested in understanding how new species form using the marine snail Littorina saxatilis as model system. He also has a more general interest in evolutionary theory, and he is developing a computer simulation of the dynamics of inversion in hybrid zones, which may act as "supergenes" for the origin of new species.

[Host: Rui Faria, Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics - EVOLGEN]

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