Jill Olofsson « Visiting Scientist » seminar
10.04.2017 - Marc-Ridet (INRA Auzeville campus)
Jill Olofsson is a postdoctoral researcher in the Plant Molecular Evolution group at Sheffield University, UK. The group studies the evolutionary origins of complex traits, with a special focus on the evolution of C4 photosynthesis, a complex trait that evolved multiple times independently over the history of angiosperms. Using a combination of genomic, transcriptomic, phenotypic, and ecological data the group traces the origin of adaptive mutations and their subsequent spread through time and space.
The research answers evolutionary important questions about how complex traits are assembled and how environmental changes drive the evolution of novel ecological innovations. While the group investigate the evolution of C4 photosynthesis across distantly related families the main focus of Jill’s research is on the tropical grass Alloteropsis semialata, which is the only known taxon including C3, C3-C4 intermediate, and C4 populations. This remarkable phenotypic variation allows for detailed studies of the evolutionary and genomic dynamics involved in the assembly of a C4 cycle.
Although the main focus of the Plant Molecular Evolution group is the study of the evolution of complex traits the group also studies the biogeographic history of selected plant lineages. In collaboration with Guillume Besnard, Jill is currently studying the biogeographic history of the olive family (Oleceaea) using a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach. Jill has together with other members of the Plant Molecular Evolution Group developed a method for analyses of low coverage NGS data which makes it possible not only to investigate the history of high copy number genomic regions, such as the chloroplast or the ribosomal DNA, but also to gain knowledge of the evolutionary history of the nuclear genome. Combining information of different parts of the genome allows for detailed analyses of the biogeographic history of the olive family as well as shedding light on the ecology of the domestication of olive and the ecological dynamics of wild olive populations.