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8 November 2017

Tracing the origin and evolution of supergene mimicry in butterflies [Nature Communications]

Keywords : batesian mimicry, evolutionary genetics, molecular evolution, next-generation sequencing, phylogenetics

Supergene mimicry is a striking phenomenon but we know little about the evolution of this trait in any species. Here, by studying genomes of butterflies from a recent radiation in which supergene mimicry has been isolated to the gene doublesex, we show that sexually dimorphic mimicry and female-limited polymorphism are evolutionarily related as a result of ancient balancing selection combined with independent origins of similar morphs in different lineages and secondary loss of polymorphism in other lineages. Evolutionary loss of polymorphism appears to have resulted from an interaction between natural selection and genetic drift. (...)

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7 November 2017

A global picture of biological invasion threat on islands [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biogeography, invasive species

Biological invasions are among the main drivers of biodiversity losses. As threats from biological invasions increase, one of the most urgent tasks is to identify areas of high vulnerability. However, the lack of comprehensive information on the impacts of invasive alien species (IAS) is a problem especially on islands, where most of the recorded extinctions associated with IAS have occurred. Here we provide a global, network-oriented analysis of IAS on islands. Using network analysis, we structured 27,081 islands and 437 threatened vertebrates into 21 clusters, based on their profiles in term of invasiveness and shared vulnerabilities. These islands are mainly located in the Southern Hemisphere and many are in biodiversity hotspots.(...)

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7 November 2017

Evolution of life in urban environment [Science]

Our planet is an increasingly urbanized landscape, with over half of the human population residing in cities. Despite advances in urban ecology, we do not adequately understand how urbanization affects the evolution of organisms, nor how this evolution may affect ecosystems and human health. Here, we review evidence for the effects of urbanization on the evolution of microbes, plants, and animals that inhabit cities. Urbanization affects adaptive and nonadaptive evolutionary processes that shape the genetic diversity within and between populations. (...)

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7 November 2017

Resource availability underlies the plant-fungal diversity relationship in a grassland ecosystem [Ecology]

Keywords : Fungi, resource availability, belowground diversity, community assembly, plant species richness, mineralization, decomposition, extracellular enzymes

It is commonly assumed that microbial communities are structured by ‘bottom-up’ ecological forces, although few experimental manipulations have rigorously tested the mechanisms by which resources structure soil communities. We investigated how plant substrate availability might structure fungal communities and belowground processes along an experimental plant richness gradient in a grassland ecosystem.(...)

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7 November 2017

Variation in recombination frequency and distribution across eukaryotes: patterns and processes [Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences]

Keywords : crossing over, meiosis, genetic linkage, evolution, adaptation, genomic architecture

Recombination, the exchange of DNA between maternal and paternal chromosomes during meiosis, is an essential feature of sexual reproduction in nearly all multicellular organisms. While the role of recombination in the evolution of sex has received theoretical and empirical attention, less is known about how recombination rate itself evolves and what influence this has on evolutionary processes within sexually reproducing organisms. Here, we explore the patterns of, and processes governing recombination in eukaryotes. We summarize patterns of variation, integrating current knowledge with an analysis of linkage map data in 353 organisms. We then discuss proximate and ultimate processes governing recombination rate variation and consider how these influence evolutionary processes.(...)

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