Keywords: Natural variation, wild strains, Caenorhabditis, whole-genome sequence, GWAS Over the last forty years, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been instrumental in numerous fundamental advances in genetics, developmental biology, and neurobiology. However, all of these discoveries come from studies of a single strain in the species. With this limitation in mind, a number of C. elegans research groups have turned to studies of diverse wild strains and natural variation. We now know more about how the genome was shaped by evolution and diverse ecological niches. Additionally, numerous studies of natural differences across the C. elegans population have led to discoveries about the evolution of developmental traits, balancing selection at behavioral loci, and responses to chemical and biotic stresses. In nearly all of these recent discoveries, the natural trait difference was identified and then resolved to the molecular mechanism, providing valuable empirical data about the nature of evolutionary processes. In order to perform these types of analyses, the average research group requires wild strains collected from nature, the whole-genome sequences and variants in those strains, and then statistical frameworks for genome-wide association (GWA) mappings. However, most groups do not have the combination of experimental, computational, and statistical training to make these studies possible. For this reason, we created the C. elegans Natural Diversity Resource (CeNDR) in April 2016. CeNDR has three major goals: (1) Collect, organize, and disseminate wild C. elegans strains; (2) Organize and disseminate wholegenome sequence and variant data for wild strains; and (3) Provide a GWA portal to facilitate these mappings and interpretations of results. We propose five critical improvements to the methodology and technology of each of the three major goals of CeNDR in this proposal. These improvements will enable future discoveries with CeNDR and will enable the planned expansion to include strains, whole-genome data, and GWA for two related nematode species: C. briggsae and C. tropicalis. These improvements and the expansion to CaeNDR (Caenorhabditis Natural Diversity Resource) will build new capacity for comparative evolution approaches in nematodes.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/19 → 8/31/22|
- National Science Foundation (DBI-1930382)
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