Genomics of hybridisation and allopolyploidy

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
The importance of hybridization in generating novel evolutionary lineages leading to speciation remains one of the most debated areas in evolutionary biology. Most evolutionary change involves small, gradual adjustments rather than evolutionary leaps, but hybridization (admixture of divergent taxa) and polyploidy (whole genome duplication) can produce genome-wide revolutions, adaptive leaps and even instantaneous species, changes that can be even more dramatic when chromosome sets from different species combine (allopolyploidy). Hybrid species with mosaic genomes are expected to retain signals of reticulate evolution from their parental species, which are distinct from tree-like species phylogenies. This thesis aims at understanding the role of hybridization and allopolyploidy on diversification processes and evolutionary history in intertidal fucoid algae. Specifically, the aims of this work, in the absence of genomic reference data, are to use available transcriptomic datasets to: i) Identify and analyze putative allopolyploid homeologues (gene copies originating from each parental lineages) by assessing relationships and incongruence between gene and species trees on a genome-wide scale, while accounting for ancestral shared polymorphism. ii) Analyze genome-wide expression patterns of putative homeologues to ask whether specific parental copies are preferred in an allopolyploid genetic background.
Preferably a working knowledge of the unix command line. Interest in hybridisation and speciation
Number of students: 
academic year: 
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Gareth Pearson
Other people involved: 
Ester A Serrão João Neiva
Reference Number: RP-39901