Evolutionary genetics and mechanisms of plant adaptation and reproductive isolation in pea aphids

The Speciaphid Project


Context and Isues

The role of ecological factors and biological adaptations on species formation has gained strong support in the last decade. However, the precise steps involved in the accomplishment of ecological specialization and reproductive isolation are not fully understood. This project aims at unraveling the evolutionary history and mechanisms of plant adaptation on the complex of host specialized biotypes in the pea aphid.


To use the pea aphid complex to explore:

  • the achievement of reproductive isolation
  • the evolutionary history of host race diversification
  • the influence of adaptive divergence on genomic differentiation
  • the genomic regions involved in host adaptation



Multidisciplinary approaches combining genome evolution, population genomics, reproduction isolation and functional studies

 Main Results

We have resequenced the full genomes of 40 pea aphid genotypes, representative of 11 biotypes or host races of the pea aphid. We are conducting bioinformatic, statistical and phylogenetic analyses to detect genomic regions involved in plant adaptation and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of biotype formation.


  • IGEPP Rennes (Jean-Christophe Simon)
  • ISEM Montpellier (Carole Smadja)
  • CBGP Montpellier (Emmanuelle Jousselin)
  • BF2I Lyon (Stefano Collela)
  • IRISA Rennes (Claire Lemaitre)
  • U. Sheffield (Roger Butlin)
  • U. Oxford (Charles Godfray)
  • U. York (Julia Ferrari)


Funding and Support



Région Bretagne


Modification date : 06 February 2023 | Publication date : 18 April 2013 | Redactor : IGEPP