Department Fish Ecology and Evolution

Speciation Genomics of Alpine Whitefish

In our whitefish speciation genomics project we aim to ultimately understanding the properties of the genome structure and the genomic architecture of traits facilitating the adaptive radiation of Alpine whitefish. To achieve this we will build genomic resources for the Alpine whitefish radiation. We will assess the genome evolution accompanying the diversification of this group by looking into structural changes across whitefish genomes. In addition, we will investigate the genomic architecture of relevant ecological traits, like body size, shape, gill raker number. Finally, we will bring this together with a population genomic analysis across multiple lakes, species, and populations.

Legacy of extinct species is retained in genomes of their extant relatives

February 24, 2022 – 

Nearly a hundred year old tissue samples from Lake Constance have enabled Eawag researchers to compare genetic material of an extinct whitefish species with that of extant co-occurring species. Their investigation showed that fragments of the genome of the extinct species have survived in today’s species. This could potentially facilitate the recolonization of the currently not occupied deep-water habitat. read more

Publication: Frei, D.; De-Kayne, R.; Selz, O.M.; Seehausen, O.; Feulner, P. (2022) Genomic variation from an extinct species is retained in the extant radiation following speciation reversal, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-022-01665-7Nature Ecology and Evolution

Gone but not forgotten: entire radiation retains genomic fragments from their lost sister species. Access the blogpost 'behind the paper' here


Selected Publications

Frei, D.; De-Kayne, R.; Selz, O. M.; Seehausen, O.; Feulner, P. G. D. (2022) Genomic variation from an extinct species is retained in the extant radiation following speciation reversal, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 6, 461-468, doi:10.1038/s41559-022-01665-7, Institutional Repository
Feulner, P. G. D.; Seehausen, O. (2019) Genomic insights into the vulnerability of sympatric whitefish species flocks, Molecular Ecology, 28, 615-629, doi:10.1111/mec.14977, Institutional Repository
De-Kayne, R.; Feulner, P. G. D. (2018) A European whitefish linkage map and its implications for understanding genome-wide synteny between salmonids following whole genome duplication, G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 8(12), 3745-3755, doi:10.1534/g3.118.200552, Institutional Repository
Feulner, P. G. D.; De-Kayne, R. (2017) Genome evolution, structural rearrangements and speciation, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30(8), 1488-1490, doi:10.1111/jeb.13101, Institutional Repository


One PhD project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Another PhD project is integrated into a larger project on Lake Constance 'SeeWandel' funded by multiple partners
SeeWandel homepage