Genomic Responses to Climate Change: Making the Most of the Drosophila Model


textlessptextgreaterIt is pressing to understand how animal populations evolve in response to climate change. We argue that new sequencing technologies and the use of historical samples are opening unprecedented opportunities to investigate genome-wide responses to changing environments. However, there are important challenges in interpreting the emerging findings. First, it is essential to differentiate genetic adaptation from phenotypic plasticity. Second, it is extremely difficult to map genotype, phenotype, and fitness. Third, neutral demographic processes and natural selection affect genetic variation in similar ways. We argue that textlessitalictextgreaterDrosophila melanogastertextless/italictextgreater, a classical model organism with decades of climate adaptation research, is uniquely suited to overcome most of these challenges. In the near future, long-term time series genome-wide datasets of textlessitalictextgreaterD. melanogastertextless/italictextgreater natural populations will provide exciting opportunities to study adaptation to recent climate change and will lay the groundwork for related research in non-model systems.textless/ptextgreater

Frontiers in Genetics