Institute of Population Genetics

Vienna, Austria

Institute of Population Genetics

Vienna, Austria
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Farlow A.,Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology | Farlow A.,Institute of Population Genetics | Arnoux S.,Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology | Doak T.G.,Indiana University Bloomington | Nordborg M.,Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology
Genetics | Year: 2015

The rate at which new mutations arise in the genome is a key factor in the evolution and adaptation of species. Here we describe the rate and spectrum of spontaneous mutations for the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a key model organism with many similarities to higher eukaryotes. We undertook an  1700-generation mutation accumulation (MA) experiment with a haploid S. pombe, generating 422 single-base substitutions and 119 insertion-deletion mutations (indels) across the 96 replicates. This equates to a base-substitution mutation rate of 2.00 3 10210 mutations per site per generation, similar to that reported for the distantly related budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, these two yeast species differ dramatically in their spectrum of base substitutions, the types of indels (S. pombe is more prone to insertions), and the pattern of selection required to counteract a strong AT-biased mutation rate. Overall, our results indicate that GC-biased gene conversion does not play a major role in shaping the nucleotide composition of the S. pombe genome and suggest that the mechanisms of DNA maintenance may have diverged significantly between fission and budding yeasts. Unexpectedly, CpG sites appear to be excessively liable to mutation in both species despite the likely absence of DNA methylation. © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.


Hansen M.,Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research | Flatt T.,Institute of Population Genetics | Flatt T.,Institute for Advanced Study | Flatt T.,University of Lausanne | Aguilaniu H.,Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2013

Reduced reproduction is associated with increased fat storage and prolonged life span in multiple organisms, but the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent studies in several species provide evidence that reproduction, fat metabolism, and longevity are directly coupled. For instance, germline removal in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans promotes longevity in part by modulating lipid metabolism through effects on fatty acid desaturation, lipolysis, and autophagy. Here, we review these recent studies and discuss the mechanisms by which reproduction modulates fat metabolism and life span. Elucidating the relationship between these processes could contribute to our understanding of age-related diseases including metabolic disorders. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Heyn P.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics | Kircher M.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Kircher M.,University of Washington | Dahl A.,TU Dresden | And 6 more authors.
Cell Reports | Year: 2014

The transition from maternal to zygotic control is fundamental to the life cycle of all multicellular organisms. It is widely believed that genomes are transcriptionally inactive from fertilization until zygotic genome activation (ZGA). Thus, the earliest genes expressed probably support the rapid cell divisions that precede morphogenesis and, if so, might be evolutionarily conserved. Here, we identify the earliest zygotic transcripts in the zebrafish, Danio rerio, through metabolic labeling and purification of RNA from staged embryos. Surprisingly, the mitochondrial genome was highly active from the one-cell stage onwards, showing that significant transcriptional activity exists at fertilization. We show that 592 nuclear genes become active when cell cycles are still only 15min long, confining expression to relatively short genes. Furthermore, these zygotic genes are evolutionarily younger than those expressed at other developmental stages. Comparison of fish, fly, and mouse data revealed different sets of genes expressed at ZGA. This species specificity uncovers an evolutionary plasticity in early embryogenesis that probably confers substantial adaptive potential. © 2014 The Authors.


Heyn P.,University of Edinburgh | Kalinka A.T.,Institute of Population Genetics | Tomancak P.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics | Neugebauer K.M.,Yale University
BioEssays | Year: 2015

A gene's "expression profile" denotes the number of transcripts present relative to all other transcripts. The overall rate of transcript production is determined by transcription and RNA processing rates. While the speed of elongating RNA polymerase II has been characterized for many different genes and organisms, gene-architectural features - primarily the number and length of exons and introns - have recently emerged as important regulatory players. Several new studies indicate that rapidly cycling cells constrain gene-architecture toward short genes with a few introns, allowing efficient expression during short cell cycles. In contrast, longer genes with long introns exhibit delayed expression, which can serve as timing mechanisms for patterning processes. These findings indicate that cell cycle constraints drive the evolution of gene-architecture and shape the transcriptome of a given cell type. Furthermore, a tendency for short genes to be evolutionarily young hints at links between cellular constraints and the evolution of animal ontogeny. © 2015 The Authors.


Kosiol C.,Institute of Population Genetics | Anisimova M.,ETH Zurich | Anisimova M.,Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2012

Populations evolve as mutations arise in individual organisms and, through hereditary transmission, may become "fixed" (shared by all individuals) in the population. Most mutations are lethal or have negative fitness consequences for the organism. Others have essentially no effect on organismal fitness and can become fixed through the neutral stochastic process known as random drift. However, mutations may also produce a selective advantage that boosts their chances of reaching fixation. Regions of genes where new mutations are beneficial, rather than neutral or deleterious, tend to evolve more rapidly due to positive selection. Genes involved in immunity and defense are a well-known example; rapid evolution in these genes presumably occurs because new mutations help organisms to prevail in evolutionary "arms races" with pathogens. In recent years, genome-wide scans for selection have enlarged our understanding of the evolution of the protein-coding regions of the various species. In this chapter, we focus on the methods to detect selection in protein-coding genes. In particular, we discuss probabilistic models and how they have changed with the advent of new genome-wide data now available. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Kofler R.,Institute of Population Genetics | Orozco-terWengel P.,Institute of Population Genetics | de Maio N.,Institute of Population Genetics | Pandey R.V.,Institute of Population Genetics | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Recent statistical analyses suggest that sequencing of pooled samples provides a cost effective approach to determine genome-wide population genetic parameters. Here we introduce PoPoolation, a toolbox specifically designed for the population genetic analysis of sequence data from pooled individuals. PoPoolation calculates estimates of θWatterson, θ π, and Tajima's D that account for the bias introduced by pooling and sequencing errors, as well as divergence between species. Results of genome-wide analyses can be graphically displayed in a sliding window plot. PoPoolation is written in Perl and R and it builds on commonly used data formats. Its source code can be downloaded from http://code.google.com/p/popoolation/. Furthermore, we evaluate the influence of mapping algorithms, sequencing errors, and read coverage on the accuracy of population genetic parameter estimates from pooled data © 2011 Kofler et al.


Chuluunbat B.,Mongolian Academy of science | Charruau P.,Institute of Population Genetics | Silbermayr K.,Institute of Parasitology | Khorloojav T.,Mongolian Academy of science | Burger P.A.,Institute of Population Genetics
Animal Genetics | Year: 2014

The tradition of animal husbandry in the context of a nomadic lifestyle has been of great significance in the Mongolian society. Both Bactrian camels and horses have been invaluable for the survival and development of human activities in the harsh arid environment of the Mongolian steppe. As camels offer unique and sustainable opportunities for livestock production in marginal agro-ecological zones, we investigated the current genetic diversity of three local Mongolian camel breeds and compared their levels of variation with common native Mongolian camels distributed throughout the country. Based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers, we found levels of genetic diversity in Mongolian populations similar to that reported for Chinese Bactrian camels and for dromedaries. Little differentiation was detected between single breeds, except for a small group originating from the northwestern Mongolian Altai. We found neither high inbreeding levels in the different breeds nor evidence for a population decline. Although the Mongolian camel census size has severely declined over the past 20 years, our analyses suggest that there still exists a stable population with adequate genetic variation for continued sustainable utilization. © 2014 The Authors. Animal Genetics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.


Longdon B.,University of Edinburgh | Fabian D.K.,University of Cambridge | Fabian D.K.,Institute of Population Genetics | Hurst G.D.D.,University of Liverpool | Jiggins F.M.,University of Cambridge
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2012

Background: Insect symbionts employ multiple strategies to enhance their spread through populations, and some play a dual role as both a mutualist and a reproductive manipulator. It has recently been found that this is the case for some strains of Wolbachia, which both cause cytoplasmic incompatibility and protect their hosts against viruses. Here, we carry out the first test as to whether a male-killing strain of Wolbachia also provides a direct benefit to its host by providing antiviral protection to its host Drosophila bifasciata. We infected flies with two positive sense RNA viruses known to replicate in a range of Drosophila species (Drosophila C virus and Flock House virus) and measure the rate of death in Wolbachia positive and negative host lines with the same genetic background. Results: Both viruses caused considerable mortality to D. bifasciata flies, with Drosophila C virus killing 43% more flies than the uninfected controls and Flock House virus killing 78% more flies than the uninfected controls. However, viral induced mortality was unaffected by the presence of Wolbachia. Conclusion: In the first male-killing Wolbachia strain tested for antiviral effects, we found no evidence that it conferred protection against two RNA viruses. We show that although antiviral resistance is widespread across the Wolbachia phylogeny, the trait seems to have been lost or gained along some lineages. We discuss the potential mechanisms of this, and can seemingly discount protection against these viruses as a reason why this symbiont has spread through Drosophila populations. © 2012 Longdon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Kalinka A.T.,Institute of Population genetics
BioEssays | Year: 2015

I propose that the underlying adaptation enabling the reproductive strategy of birthing live young (viviparity) is retraction of the site of fertilization within the female reproductive tract, and that this evolved as a means of postcopulatory sexual selection. There are three conspicuous aspects associated with viviparity: (i) internal development is a complex trait often accompanied by a suite of secondary adaptations, yet it is unclear how the intermediate state of this trait - egg retention - could have evolved; (ii) viviparity often results in a reduction in fecundity; (iii) viviparity has evolved independently many times across a diverse array of animal groups. Focusing on the Diptera (true flies), I provide explanations for these observations. I further propose that fecundity is not traded-off to enable potential benefits of viviparity, but rather that loss of fecundity is directly selected and egg retention is an indirect consequence - a model that provides a unifying common basis for the ubiquity of viviparity. © 2015 WILEY Periodicals, Inc..


Magwire M.M.,University of Cambridge | Fabian D.K.,University of Cambridge | Fabian D.K.,Institute of Population Genetics | Schweyen H.,University of Cambridge | And 4 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2012

Variation in susceptibility to infectious disease often has a substantial genetic component in animal and plant populations. We have used genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Drosophila melanogaster to identify the genetic basis of variation in susceptibility to viral infection. We found that there is substantially more genetic variation in susceptibility to two viruses that naturally infect D. melanogaster (DCV and DMelSV) than to two viruses isolated from other insects (FHV and DAffSV). Furthermore, this increased variation is caused by a small number of common polymorphisms that have a major effect on resistance and can individually explain up to 47% of the heritability in disease susceptibility. For two of these polymorphisms, it has previously been shown that they have been driven to a high frequency by natural selection. An advantage of GWAS in Drosophila is that the results can be confirmed experimentally. We verified that a gene called pastrel-which was previously not known to have an antiviral function-is associated with DCV-resistance by knocking down its expression by RNAi. Our data suggest that selection for resistance to infectious disease can increase genetic variation by increasing the frequency of major-effect alleles, and this has resulted in a simple genetic basis to variation in virus resistance. © 2012 Magwire et al.

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