Strandsnäckor Littorina saxatilis som parar sig.
Photo: Patrik Larsson

Evolution of intrinsic barriers under gene flow

Research project
Active research
Project owner
Department of Marine Sciences

Short description

In the marine snail Littorina saxatilis, multiple strong and extrinsic barriers have evolved under gene flow between ecotypes as modelling studies suggest they might nevertheless evolve. In this project we are looking for evidence of intrinsic barriers. Potential candidates are mis-developing embryos and mis-developing shell shapes, the latter appearing in ecotype crosses. Sequencing data from snails sampled over hybrid zones with more or less deformations of embryos or shells, we try to identify candidate mutations and epistatic interactions involved. We will also initiate using CRISPR/Cas9 knockdown in the snail system, to be able to experimentally test candidate genes.

Researchers in the project

Kerstin Johannesson, Department of Marine Sciences – Tjärnö

Roger Butlin, University of Sheffield, England

Rui Faria, University of Sheffield, England

Anja Westram, Institute of Science and Technology IST Austria

Deformed shell from hybrid periwinkle to the left, normal shell to the right.
Many hybrid snails are born with malformed shells, see left, and thus increased mortality. To the right a normal shell.
Photo: Roger Butlin & Fredrik Pleijel