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The FRM label was awarded to the team of A. Khila

The "FRM team" label was awarded to Abderrahman Khila's team for its project entitled "Role of epigenetics and nutrition in generating extreme growth variation".


Extreme growth variation under environmental influence is widespread in nature, yet our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms remains limited. This process known as developmental phenotypic plasticity, though rarely represented in standard study systems, provides an invaluable opportunity to understand the genotype-phenotype relationship and the impact of the environment on this relationship. This research program aims to understand how variation in nutritional input causes extreme growth variation through changes in epigenetic states and transcriptional regulation. To do this, we use a highly tractable insect model where males exhibit extreme variation in leg growth between individuals of the same species. Isogenic lines will be used to address three important aims: (1) uncover changes in epigenetic marks (DNA methylation, Histone modifications and chromatin states) in response to nutrition, and the effect of these changes on transcriptional regulation, (2) determine whether, and what, fraction of these epigenetic marks is heritable, and (3) determine the function of these molecular changes in generating extreme growth variation during development. This program provides a unique opportunity to further understand how changes in epigenetic states and transcriptional regulation can cause extreme growth variation during development under the influence of nutrition.