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The genetic basis and evolution of seasonal coat colour change polymorphism
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Portugal email@example.com
(Seminar in English)
The ability to change the colour of the coat from summer brown to winter white is one of the most remarkable adaptations of animals to seasonal environments. Seasonal coat-colour change is essentially triggered by photoperiod, but its adaptive value lies on camouflage on backgrounds periodically covered with snow. Climate change-induced declines in snow cover persistence and extent in the northern hemisphere may threaten the survival of winter white populations. However, the existence of intraspecific polymorphism of winter coat-colour in these species may seed adaptive change. Even though the evolution and genetic basis of pelage colour have been widely studied in mammals, little is yet know about the genetic control and basis of seasonal coat-colour change. We use transcriptomic and genomic approaches to shed light onto the genetic regulation of the mechanism and the genetic basis and evolution of winter coat-colour polymorphism across species of hares and weasels.
Ferreira, M.S., Alves, P.C., Callahan, C.M., Marques, J.P., Mills, L.S., Good, J.M. & Melo-Ferreira, J. (2017) The transcriptional landscape of seasonal coat colour moult in the snowshoe hare. Molecular Ecology, 26, 4173–4185
Mills, L.S., Bragina, E.V., Kumar, A.V., Zimova, M., Lafferty, D.J.R., Feltner, J., Davis, B.M., Hacklander, K., Alves, P.C., Good, J.M., Melo-Ferreira, J., Dietz, A., Abramov, A.V., Lopatina, N. & Fay, K. (2018) Winter color polymorphisms identify global hot spots for evolutionary rescue from climate change. Science, 359, 1033-1036.
Zimova, M., Hackländer, K., Good, J.M., Melo-Ferreira, J., Alves, P.C. & Mills, L.S. (2018) Function and underlying mechanisms of seasonal colour moulting in mammals and birds: what keeps them changing in a warming world? Biological Reviews.