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From gene expression to genetic adaptation : insights into the spatio-temporal dynamics of Alexandrium minutum cryptic species complex

Abstract : Natural populations face environmental changes. In this context, different responses were evolutionnary selected. Among them are phenotypic plasticity and genetic adaptation. Studying the links between these two types of response is a way to understand population dynamics and to predict how they may respond to a changing environment. In the present Ph.D thesis, I focused on studying these links at several scales (intra- and interspecific), in the cryptic species complex of the microalga Alexandrium minutum, both in vitro and in situ. With respect to phenotypic plasticity, these two closely related species show profound differences, highlighting the links between genetic and ecological divergence. At the intraspecific level, it appears that, when facing abiotic factors variations, populations adjust the expression levels of certain genes (notably involved in motility related functions and intercellular interactions under low-salinity and cold environments). On the other hand, populations show genetic differentiation at both small spatial scale, over time, and when the community changes. To conclude, there is a direct interaction between genetic divergence and changes in gene expression. In addition to asking many questions about the response capabilities of populations, these results highlight how phenotypic plasticity and genetic changes are linked and interact. They offer new perspectives on the mechanisms underlying population responses to their environment.
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Gabriel Metegnier. From gene expression to genetic adaptation : insights into the spatio-temporal dynamics of Alexandrium minutum cryptic species complex. Animal genetics. Sorbonne Université, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS200⟩. ⟨tel-02447547⟩

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