Genomic basis of rapid adaptation to climate change in the winter moth

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


Climate change threatens many species with extinction. To persist, populations will need to genetically adapt, but we know little about what determines adaptive potential in wild populations. The winter moth is one of the few species for which we have evidence that it has genetically adapted to climate change. In just a decade, the response of its egg development rate to temperature has genetically changed such that eggs now take longer to develop under the same temperatures. We combine RNAseq and whole genome sequencing approaches to characterize the genomic basis of this rapid adaptation to climate change. By sampling RNA in a temperature experiment with wild eggs, we explore which genes are involved in regulating the temperature sensitivity of embryonic development rate. We then use the resequencing of historically collected population samples from the same wild populations to determine which genomic regions have changed between 2000 and 2020. By also sequencing multiple timepoints in between 2000 and 2020, we investigate how allele frequencies of candidate genomic sites have changed in relation to selection pressure strength and population dynamics. Combining the candidate genes identified by RNAseq with the candidate genomic regions that have changed under selection will give unprecedented insight into what determines the speed of adaptation in the wild.
Event titleNetherlands Society for Evolutionary Biology Meeting 2022
Event typeConference
Conference number5
LocationEde, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational