[S18] The evolutionary significance of chromosomal inversions
Chromosomal inversions represent common structural mutations that result in the reversal of gene order in the corresponding genomic region. Since inversions effectively suppress recombination in heterozygous state, they have been associated with evolutionary processes that involve reduced recombination and gene flow such as speciation and sex chromosome evolution. Inversions might also play a pivotal role in adaptation. For example, inversions might act as adaptive "supergenes” by keeping together coadapted gene complexes or by protecting locally adapted alleles from maladaptive gene flow. Consistent with adaptive effects, several inversion polymorphisms exhibit strong, persistent frequency clines and have been associated with fitness-related traits. Despite almost 100 years of research on inversions since their discovery by Sturtevant in 1921, we are still far from fully understanding the mechanisms whereby inversion polymorphisms are maintained in natural populations and how selection acts on them. Recent advances in population genetic theory and genomics are now beginning to shed light on these fundamental questions. With this symposium we seek to foster a discussion between theorists and experimentalists about the causes and consequences of inversion evolution.
Organizers: Thomas Flatt, Martin Kapun
Invited speakers: Mathieu Joron, Michael Fontaine