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Supergene evolution in a classic plant system - bringing the study of distyly into the genomic era

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 SuperGenE project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the SuperGenE project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "SuperGenE" about.

novo    significance    population    genes    maintained    adaptive    differ    chromosomes    stigma    evolution    recombination    broad    generations    shed    quality    first    expression    linked    suppressed    question    supergenes    trait    basis    adaptations    traits    era    respect    genomes    progress    evolutionary    linum    genomic    front    hampered    degeneration    fascinating    species    combine    darwin    reciprocally    latest    inherited    similarities    assembly    character    classic    molecular    light    model    sequencing    placement    little    regions    floral    differences    understanding    complexes    favorable    questions    causes    morphs    fundamental    genus    supergene    genetic    origin    recurrent    lack    data    six    distylous    assemblies    gene    biology    distyly    pave    phenomenon    genome    sex    clusters    exhibits    anthers    combinations    central    locus    opportunity    plants    de    biologists    suppression    coadapted    full   

Project "SuperGenE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 10691

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Sweden [SE]
 Total cost 1˙475˙636 €
 EC max contribution 1˙475˙636 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-01-01   to  2022-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET SE (STOCKHOLM) coordinator 1˙475˙636.00


 Project objective

Understanding how adaptive combinations of traits are maintained is a central question in evolutionary biology. Supergenes are clusters of genes that can maintain favorable trait combinations because they are inherited as a unit. Studying supergenes allows us to address fundamental questions on the origin and evolution of complex adaptations and the effects of suppressed recombination, and is therefore of broad significance.

Distylous plants offer a particularly promising opportunity to study supergene evolution. In distylous plants there are two floral morphs that differ reciprocally in the placement of stigma and anthers. These character combinations are maintained by a supergene, the distyly S-locus. While distyly has interested many generations of biologists, we still know little about the origin and evolution of this supergene, and progress on this front has been hampered by the lack of molecular genetic data on the S-locus.

Here, we aim to make full use of the latest advances in genome sequencing technology to bring the study of distyly into the genomic era. Specifically, we will develop the classic Linum genus as a model for supergene evolution. We will first combine de novo assembly of the genomes of six Linum species with genetic studies to identify S-linked regions. Then, we will test whether the S-locus exhibits similarities to sex chromosomes with respect to recombination suppression, genetic degeneration and gene expression evolution. Finally, we will investigate the genetic causes and population genetic consequences of recurrent loss of distyly in Linum.

The high-quality genome assemblies produced during this project will pave the way for future studies of the molecular basis of adaptive floral differences first identified by Darwin. The results from this project are of great general importance for our understanding of the evolution of coadapted gene complexes and will shed new light on the important and fascinating phenomenon of supergenes.

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The information about "SUPERGENE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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