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Marie-Anne Félix

Evolution of Caenorhabditis

Our general approach is to study the evolution of biological systems in a quantitative manner, joining evolutionary genetics and system biology in a synthetic framework.

The team thus combines evolutionary, ecological and quantitative biology approaches to the biology of a major model organism, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. A constant focus in the team concerns studies of the robustness, evolution and evolvability of a model system in developmental biology, C. elegans vulval cell fate patterning. We also pioneered the isolation of natural populations of C. elegans and relatives. We study their outcrossing rate, demographic and genetic population structure and biotic associations. We study the evolutionary variation in phenotype of the C. elegans wild isolates, including their interactions with viruses, bacteria and microsporidia and their reproduction and other life history characteristics.

Research Topics
  • Evolutionary system biology: Quantitative evolution of an intercellular signaling network, experimental modulation and computational modeling, evolution of the genotype-phenotype map
  • Natural populations of Caenorhabditis: Habitat, new species, population structure and reproductive modes
  • Host-parasite evolution: Microbes associated with Caenorhabditis species (virus, bacteria, microsporidia, etc.), coevolution of nematodes and their parasites, evolution of small-RNA pathways
  • Quantitative genetics: Characterization and molecular identification of intraspecific genetic variation underlying the evolution in various phenotypes (development, immunity, reproduction).

Nematode strain collection of the team:

Selected Recent Publications

Besnard, F.*, Koutsovoulos, G.*, Dieudonné, S., Blaxter, M.# and Félix, M.-A.# Towards universal forward genetics: using a draft genome sequence of the nematode Oscheius tipulae to identify mutations affecting vulva development. Genetics 206, 1747-1761. Link

Schulenburg, H., and Félix, M.-A. (2017). The natural biotic environment of C. elegans. Genetics 206, 55-86. Link

Zhang, G., Sachse, M., Prevost, M.-C., Luallen, R.J., Troemel, E. and Félix, M.-A. (2016). A large collection of novel nematode-infecting microsporidia and their diverse interactions with Caenorhabditis elegans and other related nematodes. PLOS Pathogens 12, e1006093. Link

Samuel, B.S., Rowedder, H., Braendle, C., Félix, M.-A.* and Ruvkun, G.* (2016). Caenorhabditis elegans responses to bacteria from its natural habitats. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113, E3941-3949. Link

Barkoulas, M.*#, Vargas Velazquez, A.M*, Peluffo, A.E. and Félix, M.-A.# (2016). Evolution of new cis-regulatory motifs required for cell-specific gene expression in Caenorhabditis. PLOS Genetics 12, e1006278. Link

Félix, M.-A. and Barkoulas, M. (2015) Pervasive robustness in biological systems. Nature Reviews Genetics 16, 483-496. Link

Frézal, L. and Félix, M.-A. (2015) The natural history of model organisms: C. elegans outside the Petri dish. eLife 4:e05849. Link

Barkoulas, M., van Zon, J.S., Milloz, J., van Oudenaarden, A., Félix, M.-A. (2013). Robustness and epistasis in the C. elegans vulval signalling network revealed by pathway dosage modulation. Developmental Cell 24, 64-75. Link

Ashe, A.*, Bélicard, T.*, Le Pen, J.*, Sarkies, P.*, Frézal, L., Lehrbach, N.J., Félix, M.-A.#, Miska, E.A.# (2013) A deletion polymorphism in the C. elegans RIG-I homolog disables viral RNA dicing and antiviral immunity. eLife 2:e00994. Link

Single-molecule FISH
Single-molecule FISH
Caenorhabditis species in the world
Caenorhabditis species in the world