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30 septembre 2016

An Anthropocene map of genetic diversity [Science]

The Anthropocene is witnessing a loss of biodiversity, with well-documented declines in the diversity of ecosystems and species. For intraspecific genetic diversity, however, we lack even basic knowledge on its global distribution. We georeferenced 92,801 mitochondrial sequences for >4500 species of terrestrial mammals and amphibians, and found that genetic diversity is 27% higher in the tropics than in nontropical regions. Overall, habitats that are more affected by humans hold less genetic diversity than wilder regions, although results for mammals are sensitive to choice of genetic locus. Our study associates geographic coordinates with publicly available genetic sequences at a massive scale, yielding an opportunity to investigate both the drivers of this component of biodiversity and the genetic consequences of the anthropogenic modification of nature.

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29 septembre 2016

Citizen science data reveal ecological, historical and evolutionary factors shaping interactions between woody hosts and wood-inhabiting fungi [New Phytologist]

Keywords : ecological networks, endophytes, host selection, modularity, species richness, wood chemistry

Woody plants host diverse communities of associated organisms, including wood-inhabiting fungi. In this group, host effects on species richness and interaction network structure are not well understood, especially not at large geographical scales.
We investigated ecological, historical and evolutionary determinants of fungal species richness and network modularity, that is, subcommunity structure, across woody hosts in Denmark, using a citizen science data set comprising > 80 000 records of > 1000 fungal species on 91 genera of woody plants.(...)

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29 septembre 2016

Competitive males have higher quality sperm in a monogamous social bee [BMC Evolutionary Biology]

Keywords : aggregation, male competition, sexual selection, sperm, ,ocial insects

Persistence in male aggregations thus seems to select more competitive males with higher quality sperm. Our work is the first one to reveal an association between male competitive ability and fertilization success in a monogamous social insect. This finding sheds important light on the evolution of male traits in social insects and the general mechanisms of sexual selection.(...)

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28 septembre 2016

Widespread natural variation of DNA methylation within angiosperms [Genome Biology]

DNA methylation is an important feature of plant epigenomes, involved in the formation of heterochromatin and affecting gene expression. Extensive variation of DNA methylation patterns within a species has been uncovered from studies of natural variation. However, the extent to which DNA methylation varies between flowering plant species is still unclear. To understand the variation in genomic patterning of DNA methylation across flowering plant species, we compared single base resolution DNA methylomes of 34 diverse angiosperm species.(...)

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28 septembre 2016

The phylogenomic forest of bird trees contains a hard polytomy at the root of Neoaves [Zoologica Scripta / Invited Review]

Birds have arguably been the most intensely studied animal group for their phylogenetic relationships. However, the recent advent of genome-scale phylogenomics has made the forest of bird phylogenies even more complex and confusing. Here, in this perspective piece, I show that most parts of the avian Tree of Life are now firmly established as reproducible phylogenetic hypotheses. This is to the exception of the deepest relationships among Neoaves. Using phylogenetic networks and simulations, I argue that the very onset of the super-rapid neoavian radiation is irresolvable because of eight near-simultaneous speciation events.(...)

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