Meeting Abstract

S3-1.6  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Looking for poecilogony in the Streblospio benedicti genome ROCKMAN, Matthew; New York University

Larval traits couple development and ecology. Alleles at loci that influence larval morphology have pleiotropic effects on feeding and predation and on their own gene flow. Though such loci must underlie evolutionary transitions in larval form, the number of loci that contribute to evolutionary transitions, their molecular characteristics, and the population-genetic processes that shape their evolution remain unknown. The abundant benthic polychaete Streblospio benedicti provides a unique genetically tractable entry point to these questions. Individuals of S. benedicti vary in diverse aspects of development; some females produce small, planktotrophic larvae, and others produce large, yolky larvae capable of settling without feeding. These alternative developmental types breed true in the lab but exchange genes in the wild. I will describe our progress in searching for the genetic basis for poecilogony in S. benedicti, beginning with the characterization of basic parameters of the species’ genome and its patterns of genetic variation, including determination of genome size and karyotype, estimation of nucleotide heterozygosity and patterns of linkage disequilibrium, and ultimately construction and annotation of genetic and physical maps that will allow use of molecular quantitative genetics to reveal the genes underlying developmental variation.