Tangled Bank Seminar - Dr Fabien Condamine
On Thursday, March 18th we welcome Dr Fabien Condamine. He will be giving a Tangled Bank seminar on "Genome-wide macroevolutionary signatures of key innovations in butterflies colonizing new host plants." More information can be found on Dr Condamine's website fabiencondamine.org/.
Genome-wide macroevolutionary signatures of key innovations in butterflies colonizing new host plants
Abstract: The mega-diversity of herbivorous insects is attributed to their co-evolutionary associations with plants. Despite abundant studies on insect-plant interactions, we do not know whether host-plant shifts have impacted both genomic adaptation and species diversification over geological times. We show that the antagonistic insect-plant interaction between swallowtail butterflies and the highly toxic birthworts began 55 million years ago in Beringia, followed by several major ancient host-plant shifts. This evolutionary framework provides a valuable opportunity for repeated tests of genomic signatures of macroevolutionary changes and estimation of diversification rates across their phylogeny. We find that host-plant shifts in butterflies are associated with both genome-wide adaptive molecular evolution (more genes under positive selection) and repeated bursts of speciation rates, contributing to an increase in global diversification through time. Our study links ecological changes, genome-wide adaptations and macroevolutionary consequences, lending support to the importance of ecological interactions as evolutionary drivers over long time periods.