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I understood
Diana Lobo

Diana Lobo

Post-Doc Researcher

Post-Doc Researcher
Member type
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas. 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal

I did my graduation in Applied Biology at the University of Minho (Portugal) and my MSc degree in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (Portugal). The primary goal of my thesis, developed at CIBIO-InBIO/UP was to developed a new non-invasive sampling methodology, using saliva as the main source of DNA, for wild canids. The idea was to provide an improved sampling procedure that allowed the collection of high amounts of quality DNA to perform generic genetic analyses (e.g., species and individual identification) that have an important impact on the conservation of endangered species (Lobo et al. 2015).

Since then, I became increasingly interested in understanding how the molecular events that have occurred during domestication can affect the genome and the evolutionary history of wild/domestic forms. Being among the first domesticated species, the domestic dog and the gray wolf have most identical genomes, contrasting with the remarkable phenotypic differences between them. However, these differences can be disrupted by hybridization, that is a phenomenon that remains largely unexplored.

During my phD I will try to understand: (i) What are the effects of historical and current hybridization events on the genome of wolves living within human-dominated landscapes? (ii) Has introgression of "domestic genes” enriched the genetic legacy of the remnant wolf population, allowing its adaptation to human-dominated landscapes? (iii) Are there brain gene expression patterns, related to behavioral genes, differences in wolves living within these human-dominated landscapes? Do those patterns match closer to dog patterns than to wolves occurring in wild landscapes? and (iv) Is there a process of self-domestication occurring in wolves within human-dominated landscapes?

As a case study, we will use the Iberian Wolf to clarify our main prediction: Historical Hybridization with the dog has been a major force shaping the evolutionary trajectory of Wolf population adapted to live in human-dominated landscapes.

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