Directorate Taxonomy and Phylogeny

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UNDERSTANDING THE GENOMIC BASIS OF TAXON-WIDE PARALLEL WING EVOLUTION IN CARABID BEETLES

The recurrent gain and loss of identical but complex traits during the time course of evolution has puzzled evolutionary biologists since Darwin. While recent developments in molecular and developmental biology unveiled some intriguing mechanisms underlying such parallel trait evolution, we still lack a comprehensive view on how these mechanisms are playing over different evolutionary timescales. The difficulty to trace back the genomic basis of the same phenotypic trait in distantly related species and as well as difficulties to reconstruct the entire sequence of the genomic region of interest strongly hampered such insights. In the proposed project, we will tackle these issues by investigating the repeated evolution of wing development across the insect linage of carabid beetles, wherein we take full advantage of their unique property to show profound intraspecific variation in wing development. Associating this phenotypic variation with genetic variation at a genome-wide scale will allow us to trace back the genomic region underlying this trait in multiple species distributed across the lineage. Combining this with the introduction of a novel medical genomics tool, i.e. Targeted Locus Amplification (TLA), with a potential wide applicability in evolutionary biology, we aim to an important layer of insight into the intriguing phenomenon of recurrent evolution of complex traits, and the genomic basis of adaptive evolution in general.

 

Related media(s)
Wing dimorphism in the carabid beetle Bembidion properans. (2)
Internal member(s)
Frederik Hendrickx
Zoe DE CORTE
Carl Vangestel
Funding
Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO)
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