Monthly Archives: October 2018

Special issue on association mapping in natural populations with our own paper on wing pattern evolution out now

Our paper (led by Lauren Lucas) on wing pattern genetics and evolution in Lycaeides butterflies is out now as part of a Molecular Ecology Resources special issue on association mapping in natural populations. In this paper, we investigate the genetic architecture of complex wing pattern variation in Lycaeides butterflies as a case study of mapping multivariate traits in wild populations that include multiple nominal species or groups. We take a genomic prediction approach that accounts for the possibility that wing pattern elements are affected by many genetic loci with small effects, and we assess trait architectures at multiple hierarchical levels of biological organization. We identify conserved modules of integrated wing pattern elements within populations and species, and we find evidence that evolutionary changes in wing patterns among populations and species occur in the directions of genetic covariances within these groups. Thus, we show that genetic constraints affect patterns of biological diversity (wing pattern) in Lycaeides, and we provide an analytical template for similar work in other systems.

You can check out the entire special issue here, and see PhD student Amy Springer’s awesome digital drawings of Lycaeides wing patterns below.


Sam’s (PhD student) paper on predictability of genomic change out now with a perspective piece

Sam’s paper on the the predictability of genome‐wide evolutionary changes associated with a recent host shift in the Melissa blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa) is now out in Molecular Ecology. The main messages from this paper are that predictability is quantitative rather than binary, and that evolutionary change can be more or less predictable depending on the basis of those predictions. Specifically, we show that genome-wide evolutionary changes are better predicted from comparison among repeated host shifts than from gene-by-performance associations detected in lab experiments.

Also check out Catherine Linnen’s News and Views article covering Sam’s paper.


Lycaeides melissa female on alfalfa.