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Friday, July 19, 2019

Major improvements to the Heliconius melpomene genome assembly used to confirm 10 chromosome fusion events in 6 million years of butterfly evolution.

The Heliconius butterflies are a widely studied adaptive radiation of 46 species spread across Central and South America, several of which are known to hybridize in the wild. Here, we present a substantially improved assembly of the Heliconius melpomene genome, developed using novel methods that should be applicable to improving other genome assemblies produced using short read sequencing. First, we whole-genome-sequenced a pedigree to produce a linkage map incorporating 99% of the genome. Second, we incorporated haplotype scaffolds extensively to produce a more complete haploid version of the draft genome. Third, we incorporated ~20x coverage of Pacific Biosciences sequencing, and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Glanville fritillary genome retains an ancient karyotype and reveals selective chromosomal fusions in Lepidoptera.

Previous studies have reported that chromosome synteny in Lepidoptera has been well conserved, yet the number of haploid chromosomes varies widely from 5 to 223. Here we report the genome (393?Mb) of the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia; Nymphalidae), a widely recognized model species in metapopulation biology and eco-evolutionary research, which has the putative ancestral karyotype of n=31. Using a phylogenetic analyses of Nymphalidae and of other Lepidoptera, combined with orthologue-level comparisons of chromosomes, we conclude that the ancestral lepidopteran karyotype has been n=31 for at least 140?My. We show that fusion chromosomes have retained the ancestral chromosome segments and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Complex modular architecture around a simple toolkit of wing pattern genes

Identifying the genomic changes that control morphological variation and understanding how they generate diversity is a major goal of evolutionary biology. In Heliconius butterflies, a small number of genes control the development of diverse wing colour patterns. Here, we used full-genome sequencing of individuals across the Heliconius erato radiation and closely related species to characterize genomic variation associated with wing pattern diversity. We show that variation around colour pattern genes is highly modular, with narrow genomic intervals associated with specific differences in colour and pattern. This modular architecture explains the diversity of colour patterns and provides a flexible mechanism for…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

No evidence for maintenance of a sympatric Heliconius species barrier by chromosomal inversions.

Mechanisms that suppress recombination are known to help maintain species barriers by preventing the breakup of coadapted gene combinations. The sympatric butterfly species Heliconius melpomene and Heliconius cydno are separated by many strong barriers, but the species still hybridize infrequently in the wild, and around 40% of the genome is influenced by introgression. We tested the hypothesis that genetic barriers between the species are maintained by inversions or other mechanisms that reduce between-species recombination rate. We constructed fine-scale recombination maps for Panamanian populations of both species and their hybrids to directly measure recombination rate within and between species, and generated…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Butterfly genomics: insights from the genome of Melitaea cinxia

The first lepidopteran genome (Bombyx mori) was published in 2004. Ten years later the genome of Melitaea cinxia came out as the third butterfly genome published, and the first eukaryotic genome sequenced in Finland. Owing to Ilkka Hanski, the M. cinxia system in the Åland Islands has become a famous model for metapopulation biology. More than 20 years of research on this system provides a strong ecological basis upon which a genetic framework could be built. Genetic knowledge is an essential addition for understanding eco-evolutionary dynamics and the genetic basis of variability in life history traits. Here we review the…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A high-coverage draft genome of the mycalesine butterfly Bicyclus anynana.

The mycalesine butterfly Bicyclus anynana , the ‘Squinting bush brown’, is a model organism in the study of lepidopteran ecology, development and evolution. Here, we present a draft genome sequence for B. anynana to serve as a genomics resource for current and future studies of this important model species.Seven libraries with insert sizes ranging from 350 bp to 20 kb were constructed using DNA from an inbred female and sequenced using both Illumina and PacBio technology. 128 Gb raw Illumina data were filtered to 124 Gb and assembled to a final size of 475 Mb (~260X assembly coverage). Contigs were…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Copy number variation and expression analysis reveals a nonorthologous pinta gene family member involved in butterfly vision.

Vertebrate (cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein) and Drosophila (prolonged depolarization afterpotential is not apparent [PINTA]) proteins with a CRAL-TRIO domain transport retinal-based chromophores that bind to opsin proteins and are necessary for phototransduction. The CRAL-TRIO domain gene family is composed of genes that encode proteins with a common N-terminal structural domain. Although there is an expansion of this gene family in Lepidoptera, there is no lepidopteran ortholog of pinta. Further, the function of these genes in lepidopterans has not yet been established. Here, we explored the molecular evolution and expression of CRAL-TRIO domain genes in the butterfly Heliconius melpomene in order to…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

ChIP-Seq-annotated Heliconius erato genome highlights patterns of cis-regulatory evolution in Lepidoptera.

Uncovering phylogenetic patterns of cis-regulatory evolution remains a fundamental goal for evolutionary and developmental biology. Here, we characterize the evolution of regulatory loci in butterflies and moths using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) annotation of regulatory elements across three stages of head development. In the process we provide a high-quality, functionally annotated genome assembly for the butterfly, Heliconius erato. Comparing cis-regulatory element conservation across six lepidopteran genomes, we find that regulatory sequences evolve at a pace similar to that of protein-coding regions. We also observe that elements active at multiple developmental stages are markedly more conserved than elements with stage-specific activity.…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Conservation genetics of an endangered grassland butterfly (Oarisma poweshiek) reveals historically high gene flow despite recent and rapid range loss

1. In poorly dispersing species gene flow can be facilitated when suitable habitat is widespread, allowing for increased dispersal between neighbouring locations. The Poweshiek skipperling [Oarisma poweshiek (Parker)], a federally endangered butterfly, has undergone a rapid, recent demographic decline following the loss of tallgrass prairie and fen habitats range wide. The loss of habitat, now restricted geographic range, and poor dispersal ability have left O. poweshiek at increased risk of extinction. 2. We studied the population genetics of six remaining populations of O. poweshiek in order to test the hypothesis that gene flow was historically high despite limited long-distance dispersal…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Lepidoptera genomes: current knowledge, gaps and future directions.

Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are one of the most ecologically diverse and speciose insect orders. With recent advances in genomics, new Lepidoptera genomes are regularly being sequenced, and many of them are playing principal roles in genomics studies, particularly in the fields of phylo-genomics and functional genomics. Thus far, assembled genomes are only available for

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Supergene evolution triggered by the introgression of a chromosomal inversion.

Supergenes are groups of tightly linked loci whose variation is inherited as a single Mendelian locus and are a common genetic architecture for complex traits under balancing selection [1-8]. Supergene alleles are long-range haplotypes with numerous mutations underlying distinct adaptive strategies, often maintained in linkage disequilibrium through the suppression of recombination by chromosomal rearrangements [1, 5, 7-9]. However, the mechanism governing the formation of supergenes is not well understood and poses the paradox of establishing divergent functional haplotypes in the face of recombination. Here, we show that the formation of the supergene alleles encoding mimicry polymorphism in the butterfly Heliconius…

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