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Adaptive genomic signatures in Cereus (Cactaceae) From the Brazilian Dry Diagonal

Grant number: 20/08998-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2020
Effective date (End): May 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Acordo de Cooperação: NSF - Dimensions of Biodiversity and BIOTA
Principal Investigator:Evandro Marsola de Moraes
Grantee:Danielle Bitencourt Araújo
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Humanas e Biológicas (CCHB). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Sorocaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/03428-5 - Dimensions US-BIOTA-Sao Paulo: traits as predictors of adaptive diversification along the Brazilian Dry Diagonal, AP.BTA.TEM


The Dry Diagonal is a corridor of open dry formations that separates the Amazon Forest from the Atlantic Forest in South America. Despite the high biodiversity, the mechanisms related to the ecological speciation in these xeromorphic environments are still poorly understood. The use of genomic data integrated with phenotypic and environmental variations stands out as a potential strategy to identify genomic regions involved in the adaptation processes to new environments. Due to the close association with dry environments, wide distribution in the Brazilian Dry Diagonal, and the reported events of dispersion of lineages, the genus Cereus is an adequate model to investigate the role of natural selection in the diversification and occupation of different habitats and biomes. The present project aims to identify and characterize genomic signatures of adaptive evolution that could be involved in the colonization of different habitats and biomes of the Brazilian "Dry Diagonal" by Cereus spp. Our strategy involves inference of potential traits with an important role in adaptation, whole-genome sequencing, assembly, and annotation of a complete reference genome, whole-genome resequencing, and the detection of genetic variants associated with the adaptation of lineages to different environments. (AU)

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