My postdoctoral project is now published on Cell, https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)30632-4. To uncover the selective forces shaping life-history trait evolution across species, we investigate the genomic basis underlying adaptations to seasonal habitat desiccation in African killifishes, identifying the genetic variants associated with positive and relaxed purifying selection in 45 killifish species and 231 wild individuals distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In annual species, genetic drift led to the expansion of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes and caused the accumulation of deleterious genetic variants in key life-history modulating genes such as mtor, insr, ampk, foxo3, and polg.Relaxation of purifying selection is also significantly associated with mitochondrial function and aging in human populations. We find that relaxation of purifying selection prominently shapes genomes and is a prime candidate force molding the evolution of lifespan and the distribution of genetic variants associated with late-onset diseases in different species.
Here is the video abstract we prepared, summarizing the main findings of the paper for general audiences.