DZG Graduate Meeting

"Mind the gap: From Genotype to Phenotype and the role of Modelling, Genomic Prediction and Development"

The virtual Graduate Meeting "Mind the gap: From Genotype to Phenotype and the role of Modelling, Genomic Prediction and Development" took place from March 2 - 4, 2022 via Zoom.


Abstract book available here.

The pad incl. Q&As for all talks and discussion notes is available here.


Understanding how natural variation in genetic information contributes to the diversity in organismal form and function is a major challenge in Biology. Thorough mechanistic insights into such genotype-phenotype associations can have a major impact on our understanding of evolutionary biology, plant- and animal breeding, biodiversity, and human diseases. Advances in sequencing technologies nowadays allow describing genetic variation on multiple scales ranging from genome architecture to gene transcript and protein abundance. Additionally, novel high-throughput imaging methods and computer-aided behavioral assays are being developed to quantify phenotypic variation present in nature. We, thus, reached exciting times with an accumulation of quantitative data on the genotypic and the phenotypic level. Such datasets are excellent sources to train and improve novel machine learning approaches that are being extensively employed to achieve high-quality predictions of natural phenomena. Accordingly, applications in establishing genotype-phenotype associations are at the doorstep. 

Most adult phenotypes are exposed to changing environmental conditions and therefore subject to natural selection. These adult phenotypes are shaped during embryonic and post-embryonic development. Therefore, developmental processes are excellent targets to link variation in genotypes with phenotypic divergence.

With this symposium we want to bring together leading researchers who employ quantitative dataset to gain insights into genotype-phenotype associations. We want to bring experimentalists and theoreticians together to evaluate the opportunities and challenges of quantitative data integration. Eventually, we want to come up with a tractable outline of requirements for genotypic and phenotypic data to make sure that future research directions will contribute as much valuable experimental data as possible to allow the integration of powerful machine learning-aided predictions.


Program (all CET times)

Wed, March 2               
12:45 Welcome
13:00 Sonja Grath
  Understanding how genetic and epigenetic mechanisms shape the evolution of gene regulation
13:35 Ehsan Sanaei
  Wolbachia in scale insects: A unique pattern of infection prevalence, high genetic diversity, and host shifts
13:51 Alejandro Obispo Valencia
  Associating gene expression dynamics to the development of the gregarious phenotype in the main pest locust
14:07 Somia Saadi
  Comparative study on the gene expression levels in the gonads of the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria in gregarious (outbreak) and solitarious (normal) phases
14:23 Roland Zimm
  Evolutionary lessons from a theoretical developmental morphospace of shark teeth
14:31 Emma Gairin
  Modelling the development of pigmentation patterns during zebrafish and clownfish metamorphosis
14:39 Coffee break
15:00 Luisa Pallares
  Genotype-by-Environment interactions are key for the understanding of the dynamic nature of genotype-phenotype maps
15:35 Ekaterina Osipova
  Loss of a key muscle gluconeogenic enzyme contributed to the evolution of adaptive metabolic traits in hummingbirds
15:51 Tânia Paulo
  Mechanisms underlying adaptation of D. melanogaster against oral infection with P. entomophila – genomic versus transcriptomic approaches
16:07 Amanda Glaser-Schmitt
  Dynamics and stage-specificity of coding and non-coding gene expression during Drosophila melanogaster larval development
16:23 Saudat Alishayeva
  The role of the adaptive evolution on the non-coding regulatory sequences during ascidian embryogenesis
16:31 Arnaud Martin
  Gephebase: knowledge integration of genotype-to-phenotype variation in eukaryotes
16:39 Coffee break
17:00 Discussion and Social Evening
Thu, March 3             
13:00 Hanh Vu
  Size matters: How does the planarian flatworm know it has grown enough?
13:35 Miriam Merenciano
  The interplay between developmental stage and environment determines the adaptive effect of a natural transposable element insertion
13:51 Ting-Hsuan Lu
  Identification of a novel subnetwork involved in eye size variation between Drosophila melanogaster and D. mauritiana
14:07 Linh Dang
  Integration of functional genomics data to molecularly characterize eye size variation between D. americana and D. novamexicana
14:15 Gordon Wiegleb
  Gene expression divergence during Drosophila head development on single nuclei resolution
14:23 Konstantina Filippopoulou
  Evolution of development of neuronal diversity
14:31 Sonja Prohaska
  Modelling histone modification dynamics supports histone epigenetics as a driving force of cell differentiation
14:39 Coffee break
15:00 Nikola-Michael Prpic Schäper
  How do we translate genotype information into phenotype information?
15:35 Maridel Fredericksen
  QTL study reveals candidate genes underlying host resistance in a Red Queen model system
15:51 Henrike Indrischek
  Vision-related convergent gene losses reveal SERPINE3’s unknown role in the eye
16:07 Ellen McMullen
  Disparity in phenotypes: regulation of carbohydrate transport at the blood-brain barrier
16:15 Memet Gözüböyük
  The Lim homeobox 1 (Lim1) gene and leg development in Drosophila melanogaster
16:23 Coffee break
17:00 Discussion and Social Evening
Fri, March 4            
13:00 Pavel Tomancak
  Evolution of Morphogenesis
13:35 Deepak Dharmadhikari
  Natural variation of wing pigmentation spot in a population of Drosophila biarmipes
13:51 Victoria Sharp
  Strobilation and ephyra survivorship in Cassiopea xamachana associating with diverse Symbiodiniaceae species
14:07 Maurijn van der Zee
  Ecdysone regulates dorsal closure and is the main target of selection for fast embryonic development in Tribolium castaneum
14:23 Franziska Krämer
  Creation and preliminary phenotype characterization of a stable Tribolium Zerknüllt 1 knock-out line
14:39 Coffee break
15:00 Final Discussion and Wrap-up