Nathalie Feiner

January 04, 2024

Nathalie Feiner will join the MPI-EB in summer 2024.

Please refer to and
or contact <>  for further information on the project after having read the publications stated below.

If you wish to apply for the position, please contact Nathalie Feiner by email providing a short motivational statement, names of two referees and a short CV (biosketch).

Resolving the complex genomic basis of a sexually-selected syndrome in the common wall lizard

Common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) in Italy have evolved a novel phenotype – the nigriventris syndrome – consisting of exaggerated coloration, morphology and behavior. The syndrome is underpinned by a complex genomic basis with one major locus that is strongly associated with the nigriventris syndrome. Previous research has shown that this locus is characterized by extensive structural variation (gene duplications, deletions and inversions). The aims of this doctoral project are to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this locus, unravel how it regulates phenotype expression, and test if the locus is an evolutionary labile hotspot of variation. Depending on the specific interests of the doctoral candidate, the following topics may be explored:

(1) Construction of a recombination map using existing whole-genome resequencing data.

(2) Assessing the level of population genetic structural variation using optical mapping tools.

(3) Reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the candidate locus, including dating the origin of the nigriventris syndrome.

(4) Investigation of candidate genes for testing their role in phenotype expression (e.g., gene expression analyses).

The ideal candidate has a strong background in evolutionary thinking and deep interest in evolutionary genomics. Prior experience with bioinformatics is advantageous.

Relevant literature:

Feiner, N., Yang, W., Bunikis, I., While, G.M., and Uller, T. Adaptive introgression reveals the genetic basis of a sexually selected syndrome in wall lizards (forthcoming).

Yang, W., Feiner, N., Laakkonen, H., Sacchi, R., Zuffi, M.A.L., Scali, S., While, G.M., and Uller, T. (2020). Spatial variation in gene flow across a hybrid zone reveals causes of reproductive isolation and asymmetric introgression in wall lizards. Evolution 74, 1289-1300.

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