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3. Epigenetic processes and non-genetic inheritance in marine species adaptation

Session organizers:

Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, University of Basel.
Michaela Schwaiger, University of Basel

Contact E-mail: irene.adrian-kalchhauser@unibas.ch


Currently, marine ecosystems on this planet are undergoing rapid, anthropogenic environmental change. This involves changes in community composition and alterations in climate parameters or environmental chemistry. A key question is whether marine organisms will be able to adapt to novel conditions within the given short timeframes of change.

Epigenetic and gene-regulatory processes represent a potentially important, but little researched factor in population responses to long-term change, rapid change, or perturbations. Within the same generation, epigenetic mechanisms may allow an organism to create phenotypic variation or to display altered reaction norms in the absence of genetic variation. Additionally, the inheritance of non-genetic information such as hormones, nutrients, proteins, RNAs, DNA methylation patterns, and histone modifications from one generation to the next may allow offspring to cope with unexpected environments in the absence of genetic change, and thus may facilitate rapid adaptation processes.

However, because of certain experimental and also conceptual challenges, there is no consensus on the prevalence and on the relevance of epigenetic processes in species adaptation. We therefore invite abstracts from researchers who tackle the epigenetic mechanisms behind plastic responses and non-genetic inheritance in marine species from a theoretical as well as from an experimental approach. We ask them to present their approaches and results, and to discuss principles, concepts and challenges related to the topic.


Tim Hebbes - Epigenetic regulation in the hepatopancreas of the wood-boring isopod Limnoria quadripunctata during starvation and re-feeding

Alan Downey-Wall - Evaluating statistical methods for DNA methylation association studies: an ecological and evolutionary perspective

Nicola Hawes - DNA methylation and species invasions: can epigenetic variation contribute to adaptation to new environments?

James Dimond - Response of DNA methylation to environmental change in the reef coral Porites astreoides and its algal endosymbionts

Mark Smithson - The role of plastic and epigenetic responses in shell shape adaptation of a clonal snail

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-08-14