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Ecology & Evolution - Towards a mechanistic approach of the adaptive response to climate changes

Ecology & Evolution - Towards a mechanistic approach
© CellPress - Photo: Doug Perrine/SeaPics.com
Understanding how organisms cope with environmental change in general and in particular global change is a major scientific challenge. The molecular pathways underlying rapid adaptive phenotypic responses to global change remain poorly understood.

Here, we highlight the relevance of two environment-sensitive molecular elements: transposable elements (TEs) and epigenetic components (ECs). We first outline the sensitivity of these elements to global change stressors and review how they interact with each other. We then propose an integrative molecular engine coupling TEs with ECs and allowing organisms to fine-tune phenotypes in a real-time fashion. This produces adapted heritable phenotypes with different levels of transmission fidelity, eventually accelerating the production of genetic variation thus enabling the rapid genetic engraving of initially plastic responses. We finally discuss the implications of this molecular engine in the context of global change.

See also

Olivier Rey, Etienne Danchin, Marie Mirouze, Céline Loot, Simon Blanchet (2016) Adaptation to Global Change: A Transposable Element–Epigenetics Perspective. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2016.03.013

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simon_Blanchet/publication/301276615_Adaptation_to_Global_Change_A_Transposable_Element-Epigenetics_Perspective/links/5717deca08aed8a339e5b081.pdf