[S20] Evolutionary implications of transposable elements, epigenetics, and non-genetic inheritance

It is now well known that rapid evolution and adaptation to new environments is not solely driven by variation at chromosomal gene loci, but that it is also influenced by various cytonuclear factors and by non-genetic inheritance. Epigenetic modifications and cytoplasmic elements can directly affect morphological, physiological and behavioural phenotypic variation across generations. Also, transposable elements that are ubiquitous sequences in virtually all genomes may have a strong impact on host gene regulation, which could be mediated by epigenetic modifications. The interaction between transposable elements, epigenetics and the environment may considerably increase the degree of phenotypic variation in natural populations, thus allowing for rapid local adaptation. Yet, the mechanisms underlying non-genetic inheritance and the effects of epigenetic modifications by transposable elements remain unclear. This symposium will bring together theoreticians and empiricists who are interested in the interplay of environmental factors, transposable elements, cytoplasmic components and transgenerational epigenetic changes. The aim is to better understand the nature of transposable elements and non-genetic inheritance and their impact on evolutionary dynamics.
Organizers: Josefa Gonzalez, Willian Silva, Foteini Spagopoulou, Cristina Vieira
Invited speakers: Severine Chambeyron, Tobias Uller