The interaction of genetic drift and adaptive evolution in two endemic plant species, Arabidopsis pedemontana and A. cebennensis

Project code: SCHM 1354/6-2

Fig. 1

Habitat of Arabidopsis pedemontana

In biodiversity hotspots, up to 40% of plant species have very small distribution ranges and population sizes. Such endemic plant species are highly vulnerable to extinction by habitat destruction or environ- mental changes. They also have a high genetic risk of extinction because genetic variation is lost and the ability of adaption to new environments is reduced.

Arabidopsis pedemontana and A. cebennensis are endemic (and endangered) plant species with small distribution ranges in the Cottian Alps, Piedmont, Italy, and in the Cevennes and Massif Central, France, respectively. In this project, their genomes will be sequenced at high coverage (>30X) using Next Generation Sequencing technology and compared to other close relatives. The genomes of a collection of about 100 individuals will be resequenced at a lower coverage to identify genetic polymorphisms. In addition, transposable elements will be geno-typed and genes with increased levels of genetic diversity will be resequenced. Genome-wide levels and patterns of genetic diversity, as well as the extent of purifying selection and adaptive evolution will be determined. Models of the species history will be developed to analyse the past and to predict the future extent of genomic erosion and adaptive evolution in these species. Crosses between the two species and their closest relatives will be initiated to establish resources for identifying the genes that cause species-specific adaptations.

This project will establish the two species as model organisms to study the evolution and conservation of endemic plant species by utilizing the rich framework of genomic and genetic information available from the genus Arabidopsis.

Publications related to the project

  • None at present



  • Karl Schmid
    Prof. Dr. Karl Schmid
    Principal Investigator
    University of Hohenheim
    Office: +49 (0)711 / 459 23487
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  • Karl Schmid
    Dr. Julie Jacquemin
    Postdoctoral Researcher in SPP1529
    Office: +49(0)711 / 45924437
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