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Background A fundamental and enduring problem in evolutionary biology is to understand how populations differentiate in the wild, yet little is known about what role organismal development plays in this process. Organismal development integrates environmental inputs with the action of gene regulatory networks to generate the phenotype. Core developmental gene networks have been highly conserved for millions of years across all animals, and therefore, organismal development may bias variation available for selection to work on. Biased variation may facilitate repeatable phenotypic responses when exposed to similar environmental inputs and ecological changes. To gain a more complete understanding of population differentiation ...

Contributors
Fave, Marie-Julie, Johnson, Robert, Cover, Stefan, et al.
Created Date
2015-09-04

Background The coevolution of male traits and female mate preferences has led to the elaboration and diversification of sexually selected traits; however the mechanisms that mediate trait-preference coevolution are largely unknown. Carotenoid acquisition and accumulation are key determinants of the expression of male sexually selected carotenoid-based coloration and a primary mechanism maintaining the honest information content of these signals. Carotenoids also influence female health and reproduction in ways that may alter the costs and benefits of mate choice behaviours and thus provide a potential biochemical link between the expression of male traits and female preferences. To test this hypothesis, we ...

Contributors
Toomey, Matthew, McGraw, Kevin, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, et al.
Created Date
2012-01-10

Background Mutual policing is an important mechanism for reducing conflict in cooperative groups. In societies of ants, bees, and wasps, mutual policing of worker reproduction can evolve when workers are more closely related to the queen's sons than to the sons of workers or when the costs of worker reproduction lower the inclusive fitness of workers. During colony growth, relatedness within the colony remains the same, but the costs of worker reproduction may change. The costs of worker reproduction are predicted to be greatest in incipient colonies. If the costs associated with worker reproduction outweigh the individual direct benefits to ...

Contributors
Moore, Dani, Liebig, Juergen, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, et al.
Created Date
2010-10-27

Background Blindness has evolved repeatedly in cave-dwelling organisms, and many hypotheses have been proposed to explain this observation, including both accumulation of neutral loss-of-function mutations and adaptation to darkness. Investigating the loss of sight in cave dwellers presents an opportunity to understand the operation of fundamental evolutionary processes, including drift, selection, mutation, and migration. Results Here we model the evolution of blindness in caves. This model captures the interaction of three forces: (1) selection favoring alleles causing blindness, (2) immigration of sightedness alleles from a surface population, and (3) mutations creating blindness alleles. We investigated the dynamics of this model ...

Contributors
Cartwright, Reed, Schwartz, Rachel, Merry, Alexandra, et al.
Created Date
2017-02-07

Background Parasitic plants, represented by several thousand species of angiosperms, use modified structures known as haustoria to tap into photosynthetic host plants and extract nutrients and water. As a result of their direct plant-plant connections with their host plant, parasitic plants have special opportunities for horizontal gene transfer, the nonsexual transmission of genetic material across species boundaries. There is increasing evidence that parasitic plants have served as recipients and donors of horizontal gene transfer (HGT), but the long-term impacts of eukaryotic HGT in parasitic plants are largely unknown. Results Here we show that a gene encoding albumin 1 KNOTTIN-like protein, ...

Contributors
Zhang, Yeting, Fernandez-Aparicio, Monica, Wafula, Eric K., et al.
Created Date
2013-02-20

Background Model selection is a vital part of most phylogenetic analyses, and accounting for the heterogeneity in evolutionary patterns across sites is particularly important. Mixture models and partitioning are commonly used to account for this variation, and partitioning is the most popular approach. Most current partitioning methods require some a priori partitioning scheme to be defined, typically guided by known structural features of the sequences, such as gene boundaries or codon positions. Recent evidence suggests that these a priori boundaries often fail to adequately account for variation in rates and patterns of evolution among sites. Furthermore, new phylogenomic datasets such ...

Contributors
Frandsen, Paul B., Calcott, Brett, Mayer, Christoph, et al.
Created Date
2015-02-10

Background: The evolution of species boundaries and the relative impact of selection and gene flow on genomic divergence are best studied in populations and species pairs exhibiting various levels of divergence along the speciation continuum. We studied species boundaries in Iberian barbels, Barbus and Luciobarbus, a system of populations and species spanning a wide degree of genetic relatedness, as well as geographic distribution and range overlap. We jointly analyze multiple types of molecular markers and morphological traits to gain a comprehensive perspective on the nature of species boundaries in these cyprinid fishes. Results: Intraspecific molecular and morphological differentiation is visible ...

Contributors
Gante, Hugo F., Doadrio, Ignacio, Alves, Maria Judite, et al.
Created Date
2015-06-12