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Biodiversity conservation using genes and genomes
Organized in partnership with the European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA) consortium
Chairs: Giorgio Bertorelle, Claudio Ciofi

Invited speakers: Camila Mazzoni, Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research, Germany; Astrid Vik Stronen, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

The contribution of genetic analyses to conservation biology is growing fast thanks to the constant improvement of affordable, high-throughput sequencing techniques. Single genes or entire genomes, neutral, adaptive or maladaptive DNA variants, single species or environmental pools, all can provide useful information to understand biological systems and help devising conservation actions. This symposium is dedicated to all studies where genetic data can assist in reducing biodiversity loss.

Dynamics of genomic diversity in domesticated species

Chairs: Elena Bitocchi, Ivan Scotti
Invited speakers: Yves Vigouroux, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France; Roberto Papa, Marche Polytechnic University, Italy

Domestication strongly changed human societies in many ways, while shaping the genome diversity of domesticated species themselves. The tempo and mode of this process, the subsequent dynamics of dissemination out of the countries of origin, the breeding activities and hybridization between domesticated and wild forms, as well as within domesticates have long been investigated for both plant and animal species. This symposium will focus on bringing together the most recent and thrilling works on dynamics of genomic diversity in animal and plant domesticated species. We will consider studies focused on domesticated animal and plant populations, involving the characterization of their genetic diversity and its evolution in response to adaptation to different agronomic, environmental, and breeding conditions. We are also interested in studies helping to refine our knowledge on the management and use of genetic diversity.

Population genetics using modern and ancient data

Chairs: Josephine Paris, Silvia Ghirotto
Invited speaker: Rasmus Nielsen, University of California, Berkeley, US

Understanding the inference of past demographic histories and/or adaptation dynamics is a fundamental aspect of population genetic studies. Recently, analytical methods have been profoundly reshaped by the enormous number of DNA sequences that can now be generated from both from modern and ancient samples. This symposium will focus on the analysis of genetic, genomic, or simulated data from modern and ancient populations. This includes research on demographic inference, analysis of the ecological and evolutionary drivers of selection, advances in methodological approaches, and new computational and theoretical frameworks.

Advances in phylogeography and phylogenomics
Chairs: Paolo Gratton, Joan Ferrer Obiol, Assunta Biscotti

Invited speaker: Davide Pisani, University of Bristol, UK

Knowledge of how living and extinct lineages are related to one another is a fundamental goal of evolutionary biology. Moreover, it provides a necessary backbone for understanding the processes shaping biodiversity in time and space. In recent years, advances in sequencing techniques accompanied by the rapid development of bioinformatics tools have revolutionised our ability to reconstruct the tree of life at all scales. However, this has also exposed challenges, prompting a shift towards novel research methodologies and approaches. The availability of genomic data has also allowed the comprehension of the evolution of key gene families responsible for the onset of innovative adaptive traits that led to the conquest of new environments. This symposium encourages contributions focusing on new methodological developments, theoretical frameworks, and applications in the fields of phylogenomics and phylogeography.

Behaviour and ecology: an evolutionary perspective

Chairs: Lisa Locatello, Donato Grasso

Invited speaker: Gil Rosenthal, University of Padova, Italy

Ethology, ecology and evolution are closely intertwined with each other. Behaviour is at the interface between the body and the environment, a crucial expression of the phenotype in continuous relationship with the ecological pressures and constraints shaping the biology and life history traits of organisms. This symposium will focus on ecological and evolutionary processes explaining the occurrence and adaptive significance of behavioural patterns and their influence upon life history strategies. Studies on the expression and evolution of social, spatial, sexual and competitive behaviour, on the genetic architecture of behaviour, on the evolutionary ecological causes and consequences of personality, individual plasticity, and behavioural stability are some examples of aspects that will be considered.

Evolution of forms from genes to cells to organisms

Chairs: Maria Ina Arnone, Paolo Colangelo
Invited speaker: Detlev Arendt, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany

Biological forms origin from complex developmental and evolutionary processes. Phenotypes resulting from these processes can be fully understood by using a combination of different approaches bringing together studies of genetics, cell biology and morphometrics in order to disentangle the process at the basis of their origin. This symposium will focus on patterns and processes that shape biological forms at any level of organization, from genes, to cells, to organisms. The symposium is dedicated to the understanding of how phenotypic complexity evolve. Studies on genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomics and evolutionary morphology are some examples of the contributions that will be considered.

Microbial genomics and evolution

Chairs: Marco Fondi, Alessio Mengoni
Invited speaker: Mireia Valles Colomer, University of Trento, Italy

Microbial genomics has become in the last ten years a mature research field, contributed by ecologists, geneticists, bacteriologists, molecular biologists, and evolutionary biologists. Indeed, microbial genomics, especially prokaryotic genomics, is now central in life science. The discovery of the importance of microbial communities, their tremendous diversity, and their impact on multicellular organisms’ life has led to the emergence of new concepts, including evolutionary interpretations of biotic relationships. This symposium will focus on the peculiar evolutionary aspects and processes deciphered from studies on microbial genomes. Studies including genomic manipulation, gene expression analyses, community interactions, and systems biology approaches aimed to interpret and predict evolutionary scenarios will be considered.

Participants who want to present studies on topics that do not fall within the themed symposia are also welcome (please, select the option “other” in the abstract submission form).

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