CE02 - Terre vivante

Adaptive diversification of Fly Orchids as a new model to investigate ecological speciation and evolutionary radiations – DiversiFly

Submission summary

Developing an integrative research allowing to elucidate both the links between genotype, phenotype and fitness and the genomic bases of the variation form a major challenge in our understanding of speciation and the emergence of biodiversity. In DiversiFly, I propose to implement such approach by generating, analyzing and comparing phenotypic (morphometry, coloration, odor), genomic and ecological data on Ophrys orchids. This genus displays one of the highest rates of diversification and hybrid zones formed in the wild by some of its species makes Ophrys a promising model to better understand the causes of adaptive radiations: phenomena of intense and rapid diversification in response to ecological selection pressures. Through its approaches, DiversiFly aims at combining studies led at different evolutionary scales, working on endemic and threatened species.

In a first part, the parallel study of two hybrid zones will allow us to determine what are the phenotypic traits (morphology, coloration, odor) predominantly involved in adaptation and reproductive isolation within the O. insectifera clade. Through cline analyses, outlier research and association studies, we will then confront phenotypic and genomic data (transcriptomes and GBS data) in order to look for the genomic bases of traits of interest. The links between phenotypes and individual fitness will be evaluated based on life history traits related to reproductive success and survival. As all individuals will be marked, phenotyping and fitness will be evaluated each year over the four years of the project to investigate their stability.

In a second part, we will link micro and ‘macro-’ evolutionary scales by working on the whole genus Ophrys. We will use floral transcriptomes on species, representative of the diversity of the genus in order to identify genes involved in shaping floral phenotype, so particular of the Ophrys. Following a comparative approach, we will base our study on both sequence variation and gene levels of expression.

Our results will have a significant impact in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology, contributing to the emergence of a new plant model, with a complex genome, to study speciation and evolutionary diversification. They will also contribute to fields such as genomics, conservation biology, systematics and taxonomy. We also believe that with its flowers mimicking insects, Ophrys forms an excellent model for scientific communication and towards general audience.

Project coordination

Joris Bertrand (Laboratoire Génome et développement des plantes)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LGDP Laboratoire Génome et développement des plantes

Help of the ANR 371,635 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2021 - 48 Months

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