Environmental change and the evolution of genomes: Transposable elements as translators of phenotypic plasticity into genotypic variability

Sergio Pimpinelli and Lucia Piacentini Phenotypic plasticity is defined as the capacity of a single genotype to exhibit a broad spectrum of phenotypes in response to changing environmental conditions. Such a phenomenon is generally explained as the result of molecular mechanisms (‘epigenetic’ mechanisms) modifying gene expression without altering the underlying DNA sequence. However, the biology of transposable elements, DNA fragments capable of moving themselves from … Continue reading Environmental change and the evolution of genomes: Transposable elements as translators of phenotypic plasticity into genotypic variability

Maternal mouse with babies

Paternal Germline Effects in a Reproductive Context

Frances A. Champagne The experience of fathers – nutrition, toxin exposure, stress – can have a lasting impact on offspring, with effects on growth, metabolism, stress physiology and behaviour.  One possible route through which fathers can exert these effects is through germline epigenetic transmission – and there is growing evidence for epigenetic effects of environments on sperm that are linked to offspring developmental outcomes.  Epigenetic … Continue reading Paternal Germline Effects in a Reproductive Context

Linking epigenetics and biological conservation: Toward a conservation epigenetics perspective

Olivier Rey, Christophe Eizaguirre, Bernard Angers, Miguel Baltazar-Soares, Kostas Sagonas, Jérôme Prunier & Simone Blanchet Conservation biology is a multidisciplinary field aiming at maintaining and restoring biodiversity from genes ecosystems. In the last decades, genomic tools were integrated into conservation biology to estimate demographic parameters and adaptive potential, characterize population structure, delimitate taxonomic groups and evolutionary significant units (ESUs; i.e. groups of individuals that have … Continue reading Linking epigenetics and biological conservation: Toward a conservation epigenetics perspective

Drosophila suzukii. Photo credit: Patricia Gibert.

Review: New environments can uncover hidden genetic variation and help invasive populations

Pierre Marin, Julien Genitoni, Dominique Barloy, Stéphane Maury, Patricia Gibert, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Cristina Vieira   The industrial expansion and colonization of new regions over the course of human history has been accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of biological invasions. This phenomenon has accelerated particularly since the end of the 20th century due to the intensification of global trade. Some of these alien … Continue reading Review: New environments can uncover hidden genetic variation and help invasive populations