Research project

The contribution of plasticity to adaptive divergence: domestication as a model

Project overview

Selection acts on phenotypes, which materialize from both the organism’s genotype and the interaction between genotype and environment (phenotypic plasticity). While genetic changes unequivocally give rise to new traits, populations and species, it remains unclear if selection on plasticity can also assist in the emergence of new taxa.

Our project will use transcriptomics to measure plasticity of thousands of gene expression ‘traits’ in a paired sampling design. Identifying which traits show plasticity and which show divergence across wild and domesticated species pairs, we will provide the first evidence of the genetic basis and role of plasticity in adaptive divergence and the early emergence of new taxa.


Lead researcher

Dr Mark Chapman

Associate Professor
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Other researchers

Professor Tom Ezard

Professor of Evolutionary Ecology

Research interests

  • The bridge from micro- to macroevolution.
  • Scaling ecological dynamics across individuals, populations and ecosystems.
  • Demography for conservation and life history evolution.
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Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups