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Developmental plasticity and evolution of the Caenorhabditis germline and reproductive system

Abstract : The environment is an integral part of the translation of genotypes into phenotypes, and a given genotype may generate different phenotypes in response to environmental variation. This phenomenon, called developmental or phenotypic plasticity is universal. My project aimed to conduct an integrative and evolutionary analysis of developmental plasticity in reproductive and underlying germline traits of Caenorhabditis nematodes. This research thus also sheds light on the environmental sensitivity of life history traits, their mechanistic basis and evolution. First, I analysed the extent of plasticity and genotype-by-environment interactions for C. elegans life history and germline traits in response to ecologically relevant environmental variation. I found highly variable effects of environment and genotype, as well as genotype-by-environment interactions for life history and germline traits, providing novel insights into the translation of developmental plasticity into life history trait plasticity. Second, I examined intra- and interspecific evolution of Caenorhabditis germline processes and reproduction, primarily in the context of evolutionary variation in thermal sensitivity of reproduction. I found that heat-induced fertility reduction is not only due to defects in spermatogenesis but also to a wide spectrum of oogenesis errors, which are strongly dependent on species and genotype. Specifically, in C. elegans, high temperature induces consistent defects in mitosis-meiosis progression due to a deregulation of Delta/Notch signalling in the germ stem cell niche. Third, I carried out a population-level study aimed at quantifying germline developmental changes underlying adaptation to a novel environment, making use of C. elegans experimental evolution populations. I uncovered significant evolutionary responses for multiple germline processes in line with observed adaptive evolution at the life history level.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 5, 2020 - 11:58:29 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 5:16:54 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-02804935, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 458412



Nausicaa Poullet. Developmental plasticity and evolution of the Caenorhabditis germline and reproductive system. Other [q-bio.OT]. 2013. English. ⟨tel-02804935⟩



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