Adaptation and introgression: Habitat adaptation and the acquisition of adaptive traits via introgression in an Arabidopsis lyrata - arenosa introgression zone

Project code: WI 3520/1-1

Fig. 1

Left side: Arabidopsis lyrata; right side: Arabidopsis arenosa.

The project aims at investigating the genetic basis of edaphic adaptation in two outcrossing, diploid Arabidopsis species (A. lyrata and A. arenosa) using a natural introgression zone of these species. In the East Austrian Forealps, A. lyrata is restricted to limestone, while A. arenosa grows on both calcareous and siliceous bedrock. Introgression of A. arenosa into A. lyrata however lead to the formation of tetraploid hybrids that could escape the narrow ecological niche of A. lyrata and now colonize siliceous substrates.

We will first identify genomic regions associated with edaphic adaptation in diploid populations of both species using data from whole-genome re-sequencing in outlier analyses and estimations of gene expression divergence from RNA sequencing (rationale: divergence between ecotypes is expected to be associated with divergence at the genetic level). We will then assess the genomic contribution of A. arenosa and A. lyrata to selected tetraploid hybrids collected on both types of substrates via whole-genome re-sequencing (rationale: introgression of adaptive genes from A. arenosa into A. lyrata is associated with the increased niche breadth). Finally, we will conduct reciprocal cultivation experiments with material from different edaphically adapted populations to assess the extent of local adaptation (rationale: locally adapted genotypes should be the fittest in their own habitat).

Publications related to the project

  • None at present



  • Alex Widmer
    Prof. Dr. Alex Widmer
    Principal Investigator
    ETH Zurich
    Office: +41 (0)44 / 632-2174
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  • Alessia Guggisberg
    Dr. Alessia Guggisberg
    Postdoctoral Researcherr in SPP1529
    Office: +41 (0)44 / 632-7410
    send email

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