Research

Systems biology of yeast - gene-gene and gene-environment interaction networks underlying complex traits

Species inhabit complex environments and respond to selection imposed by numerous abiotic and biotic conditions that vary in both space and time. Environmental heterogeneity strongly influences trait evolution and patterns of adaptive population differentiation. This variation can be regulated by modulating both genetic and epigenetic parameters. We study how a specific environment can effect genetic architecture and how multiple environments can have an effect on phenotype. We also study how environment can change the effect of a genotype such that it has opposite effects in the pairs of environments tested. This opposite environmental effects has implications in evolution and adaptation.

Analysis of large-scale genotype-phenotype data helps us to understand how gene-gene interactions and environment shape the effects of various genetic factors. This allows us to identify molecular pathways, which would be instrumental in adaptation in various environments. The central goal of genetics is the ability to predict the phenotypic effects of alleles whether it is in understanding variation in important traits like growth yield in plants, or disease predisposition in humans. Therefore by comprehensively characterising gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in populations, we hope to understand how the underlying genetic interactome is modulated by environment for the population to adapt and evolve.