Wild Evolutionary Genomics


150 years since the Origin of Species, we do not know how natural selection acts at the level of the genome in natural populations in ecological time, but elucidation is within reach. This study will investigate natural selection, and the genome's response to it, in unprecedented detail by combining two resources. The Soay sheep population on the island of Hirta, St. Kilda, Scotland is one of the most thoroughly phenotyped wild animal populations in the world and already the subject of internationally famous interdisciplinary research. The recently developed International Sheep Genomics Consortium 60K chip identifies 38,777 single nucleotide polymorphisms in Soay sheep. We will genotype 5,000 Soays for these SNPs. We will first analyse the data to test the effect of realised relatedness and inbreeding coefficients on trait heritabilities, genetic correlations and inbreeding depression. We predict that all estimates will increase, generating much increased power for more complex studies. Second, we will identify genome regions harbouring quantitative trait loci (QTL) and inbreeding depression and genotype additional sheep at SNPs in haplotypes predicting this variation. We will subject these regions to intensive analyses to understand their genetic effects, the action of selection on them and their response to selection. Finally, we will count the recombination events in each parent during the creation of each offspring and conduct a comprehensive analysis of sources of individual variation in recombination, the first of its kind in a wild population.

  • Status
  • Completed
  • Project Launch
  • 01 September 2010
  • Project completed
  • 31 August 2015
Evolutionary, population and environmental biology genome natural selection