NAISS 2024/5-14


NAISS Medium Compute

Principal Investigator:

Niclas Backström


Uppsala universitet

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

10615: Evolutionary Biology



The project will continue at the same rate over the upcoming year at least, with several previously associated reseachers working on different parts of the long-term projects. We would appreciate if we could keep our current quota limits since we expect similar activity rates over the next year. The projects we run are are diverse. They can be joined under an umbrella-goal that aims at understanding the genetic basis of adaptation and speciation in natural populations of butterflies. For that we focus on four distinct study systems: 1) the wood white butterflies with extreme karyotype variation within and between species allow us to quantify the effects of structural variation on divergence processes, recombination rate variation, genetic variation and adaptive potential, 2) the extreme migratory behavior of the painted lady allows us to investigate the genetic basis of insect migration and how environmental factors affect variation in the behavior, and 3) the highly vulnerable clouded apollo, which is divided into three subpopulations with distinct geographic distributions in Sweden, allows us to use population genomics approaches to make informed decisions about forthcoming conservation actions in the species, and, 4) using genomic tools to inform about potential reintroduction efforts in the recently extinct Assmann's fritillary in Sweden. We predominantly use comparative genomics (whole genomes of several individuals from multiple species), population genomics (full genome re-sequencing of many individuals), linkage mapping (GBS type data for very large sample sets), and expression profiling (RNAseq data for large sample sets). We have now also started to combine traditional omics data with epigenetic scoring (methylation), chromatin accessibility data (ChipSeq) and three-dimensional information of the chromosomes (HiC, 3D) to take the knowledge about mechanistic underpinnings of microevolutionary processes further. The inclusion of both traditional genetic data and novel structure data will likely increase our understanding also about the evolutionary consequences of different types of genomic, epigenetic and structural variation. The group consists of several associated researchers from other Universities, but the main research/computational work is done by a PostDoc, 2 PhD-students, 1 master student and a WABI-support bioinformatician (Per Unneberg), working in the group of the main PI at Uppsala University. This group constellation will be smaller over the upcoming year due to contracts ending. The PI is permanently employed at UU and has sufficient funding to cover several forthcoming large omics efforts. Therefore, we are dependent on a continued access to a compute project with an allocation of run hours that allows us to proceed with the planned research.