• Research

Uncovering adaptation to arid environments in mice

Studying the genome of the desert pygmy mouse to understand how it evolved to adapt to life in the desert.

Project summary.

Due to human activities and global climate change more than one-third of the land is threatened by desertification. This will have profound consequences on the living organisms living in these regions. In this context, we are interested in understanding how animals can adapt to arid environments.

To do this we are studying the genome of the desert pygmy mouse that lives in the Kalahari desert. By comparing the genome of this mouse with a close relative pygmy mouse that lives in a non-arid region of South-Africa, we will be able to find which genes are responsible for the adaptation to aridity and understand how this mouse evolved to adapt to life in the desert.

The outcome of this project will give us basic knowledge on how mammals adapt to extreme environment. This information is critical for the conservation of animal species threatened by desertification or if we want to improve livestock to make them suitable to more arid environment.


Frederic Veyrunes (CNRS - France)

UCSC - California  (Benedict Patten), UCSD (Son Pham) 

They are contributing to the project by providing an assembly of chromosomes using the Ragout pipeline and the gene annotation using Augustus-Transmap pipeline.