Cocoa pods, Venezuela. Photo: C.Lanaud ©CIRAD
Arabica coffee, Ethiopia. Photo: ©Jean-Pierre Labouisse
Yams in Benin. Photo: J-L Pham ©IRD
Rice harvest, Guinea. Photo: J-L Pham ©IRD
Maize corn. Photo: ©Brigitte Gouesnard


The aim of this project was to explore the genetics and evolutionary mechanisms involved in local adaptation to spatial and temporal heterogeneity of climatic conditions:

  • What is the genetic architecture of plant adaptation to climate change?
  • What is the role of standing genetic variation versus new mutations in the generation of genotypes adapted to new climatic conditions?
  • What are the roles of evolutionary mechanisms like migration and recombination in the evolution of a population/species under rapid climate change?

 To address these questions, we proposed to develop high throughput genome scan analyses on two kinds of samples: samples collected along climatic gradients (hereafter referred as spatial contrasts), and populations collected from the same site at separate times (temporal contrasts). Climatic gradient analyses were expected to allow the identification of sets of candidate genes underlying response to climate-mediated selection; while monitoring the temporal evolution of populations during the 20-30 last years should provide evidence that evolution has happened (or not) and give insights into the demographic and selective trajectories of the populations under climatic variation.

 The project was subdivided in three work-packages: first to test and develop methods for the detection of selection on environmental gradients using genome wide polymorphism data (WP1); then to use these methods to pinpoint genes or genomic regions exhibiting a distinct diversity signature on both spatial (WP2) and temporal contrasts (WP3).

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