convergent evolution
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2022 ◽  
Anna Duenser ◽  
Pooja Singh ◽  
Laurene Alicia Lecaudey ◽  
Christian Sturmbauer ◽  
Craig Albertson ◽  

Studying instances of convergent evolution of novel phenotypes can shed light on the evolutionary constraints that shape morphological diversity. Cichlid fishes from the East African Great Lakes are a prime model to investigate convergent adaptations. However, most studies on cichlid craniofacial morphologies have primarily considered bony structures, while soft tissue adaptations have been less intensely scrutinised. A rare example of an exaggerated soft tissue phenotype is the formation of a snout flap. This tissue flap develops from the upper lip and has evolved in only one cichlid genus from Lake Malawi and one genus from Lake Tanganyika. To investigate the molecular basis of snout flap convergence, we used mRNA sequencing to compare two species with snout flap (Labeotropheus trewavasae and Ophthalmotilapia nasuta) to their close relatives without snout flaps (Tropheops tropheops and Ophthalmotilapia ventralis) from Lake Tanganyika and Malawi. Our analysis revealed a greater complexity of differential gene expression patterns underlying the snout flap in the younger adaptive radiation of Lake Malawi than in the older Lake Tanganyika radiation. We identified 201 genes that were repeatedly differentially expressed between species with and without the snout flap in both lakes, suggesting that the pathway that gives rise to snout flaps is evolutionarily constrained, even though the flaps play very different functions in each species. The convergently expressed genes are involved in proline and hydroxyproline metabolism, which have been linked to human skin and facial deformities. Additionally, we also found enrichment for transcription factor binding sites upstream of differentially expressed genes such as members of the FOX transcription factor family, especially foxf1 and foxa2, which also showed an increased expression in the flapped snout and are linked to nose morphogenesis in mammals, as well as ap4 (tfap4), a transcription factor showing reduced expression in the flapped snout with an unknown role in the development of craniofacial soft tissues. As genes involved in cichlids snout flap development are associated with many human mid-line facial dysmorphologies, our findings imply a conservation of genes involved in mid-line patterning across vastly distant evolutionary lineages of vertebrates.

2022 ◽  
Laura P Lagomarsino ◽  
Lauren Frankel ◽  
Simon Uribe-Convers ◽  
Alexandre Antonelli ◽  
Nathan Muchhala

Background and Aims- The centropogonid clade (Lobelioideae: Campanulaceae) is an Andean-centered rapid radiation characterized by repeated convergent evolution of morphological traits, including fruit type and pollination syndromes. While previous studies have resolved relationships of lineages with fleshy fruits into subclades, relationships among capsular species remain unresolved. This lack of resolution has impeded reclassification of non-monophyletic genera, whose current taxonomy relies heavily on traits that have undergone convergent evolution. Methods- Targeted sequence capture using a probeset recently developed for the centropogonid clade was used to obtain phylogenomic data from DNA extracted from both silica-dried and herbarium leaf tissue. These data were used to infer relationships among species using concatenated and partitioned species tree methods, and to quantify gene tree discordance. Key Results- While silica-dried leaf tissue resulted in more and longer sequence data, the inclusion of herbarium samples improved phylogenetic reconstruction. Relationships among baccate lineages are similar previous studies, though differ within and among capsular lineages. We improve phylogenetic resolution of Siphocampylus, which forms ten groups of closely related species which we informally name. Two subclades of Siphocampylus and two individual species are rogue taxa whose placement differs widely across analyses. Gene tree discordance (including cytonuclear discordance) is rampant. Conclusions- The first phylogenomic study of the centropogonid clade considerably improves our understanding of relationships in this rapid radiation. Differences across analyses and the possibility of additional lineage discoveries still hamper a solid and stable reclassification. Rapid morphological innovation corresponds with a high degree of phylogenomic complexity, including cytonuclear discordance, nuclear gene tree conflict, and well-supported differences between analyses based on different nuclear loci. Taken together, these results point to a potential role of hemiplasy underlying repeated convergent evolution. This hallmark of rapid radiations is likely present in many other species-rich Andean plant radiations.

Gabriele Stankeviciute ◽  
Peijun Tang ◽  
Ben Ashley ◽  
Joshua D. Chamberlain ◽  
Matthew E. B. Hansen ◽  

2021 ◽  
Aashutosh Vihani ◽  
Maira H Nagai ◽  
Conan Juan ◽  
Claire A de March ◽  
Xiaoyang S Hu ◽  

Olfactory receptors (ORs) constitute the largest multi-gene family in the mammalian genome, with hundreds to thousands of loci in humans and mice respectively. The rapid expansion of this massive family of genes has been generated by numerous duplication and diversification events throughout evolutionary history. This size, similarity, and diversity has made it challenging to define the principles by which ORs encode olfactory stimuli. Here, we performed a broad surveying of OR responses, using an in vivo strategy, against a diverse panel of odorants. We then used the resulting interaction profiles to uncover relationships between OR responses, odorants, odor molecular properties, and OR sequences. Our data and analyses revealed that ORs generally exhibited sparse tuning towards odorants and their molecular properties. Odor molecular property similarity between pairs of odorants was informative of odor response similarity. Finally, ORs sharing response to an odorant possessed amino acids at poorly conserved sites that exhibited both, predictive power towards odorant selectivity and convergent evolution. The localization of these residues occurred primarily at the interface of the upper halves of the transmembrane domains, implying that canonical positions govern odor selectivity across ORs. Altogether, our results provide a basis for translating odorants into receptor neuron responses for the unraveling of mammalian odor coding.

2021 ◽  
Vol 7 (12) ◽  
David J. Edwards ◽  
Sebastián Duchene ◽  
Bernard Pope ◽  
Kathryn E. Holt

Homoplasic SNPs are considered important signatures of strong (positive) selective pressure, and hence of adaptive evolution for clinically relevant traits such as antibiotic resistance and virulence. Here we present a new tool, SNPPar, for efficient detection and analysis of homoplasic SNPs from large whole genome sequencing datasets (>1000 isolates and/or >100 000 SNPs). SNPPar takes as input an SNP alignment, tree and annotated reference genome, and uses a combination of simple monophyly tests and ancestral state reconstruction (ASR, via TreeTime) to assign mutation events to branches and identify homoplasies. Mutations are annotated at the level of codon and gene, to facilitate analysis of convergent evolution. Testing on simulated data (120 Mycobacterium tuberculosis alignments representing local and global samples) showed SNPPar can detect homoplasic SNPs with very high specificity (zero false-positives in all tests) and high sensitivity (zero false-negatives in 89 % of tests). SNPPar analysis of three empirically sampled datasets ( Elizabethkingia anophelis , Burkholderia dolosa and M. tuberculosis ) produced results that were in concordance with previous studies, in terms of both individual homoplasies and evidence of convergence at the codon and gene levels. SNPPar analysis of a simulated alignment of ~64 000 genome-wide SNPs from 2000 M. tuberculosis genomes took ~23 min and ~2.6 GB of RAM to generate complete annotated results on a laptop. This analysis required ASR be conducted for only 1.25 % of SNPs, and the ASR step took ~23 s and 0.4 GB of RAM. SNPPar automates the detection and annotation of homoplasic SNPs efficiently and accurately from large SNP alignments. As demonstrated by the examples included here, this information can be readily used to explore the role of homoplasy in parallel and/or convergent evolution at the level of nucleotide, codon and/or gene.

Pengfei Su ◽  
Wei Shen

Summary This article posits that both Roman and early Chinese states underwent four stages in their multiple-step transformations from local states to major empires during the classical period. For both states, at stage 2, one dominant state formed alliance with a group of smaller autonomous polities, and at stage 3 that dominant state deepened its regulation of the smaller polities whose autonomy was curtailed. There existed striking similarities between Rome and China (early Han Empire) at stages 2 and 3 regarding the constitutional rules enforced by the two central governments to control the newly-acquired subordinate territories, which were the Macedonian/Greek states for Rome and the vassal kingdoms in eastern territories for Han Empire. In particular, this article discusses: (i) why Macedonian/Greek states have been chosen for comparative studies; (ii) similar constitutional rules at stage 2 governing the two empires’ relationships with their subordinate polities; (iii) similar legal rules at stage 3 aiming at dividing up the territories of the subordinate polities and restraining their self-rule; (iv) similar stage-3 constitutional rules that preserved some autonomy for the subordinate polities; and (v) similar stage-3 legal rules that regulated certain economic activities of the subordinate polities. After analyzing Roman governance of Macedonia/Greece within the broader context of Roman institutions for territorial integration, the article explores the underlying trends and deeper mechanism that led to such convergent evolution of legal rules.

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