Sexual selection and its impacts on genome evolution Insights from the Manakin Genomics Research Coordination Network

January 3 – Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

S12-14  Thu Jan 7 18:30 – 19:00  Sexual selection and its impacts on genome evolution: Insights from the Manakin Genomics Research Coordination Network Balakrishnan, CN*; Baldwin, MW; Wirthlin, M; Toda, Y; Manakin, RCN; East Carolina University; Max Planck Institute for Ornithology; Carnegie Mellon University; University of Tokyo

Sexual selection has long been considered an important driving force underlying evolutionary novelty. In contrast to ecological adaptations, sexually selected traits provide a benefit primarily in the context of securing mates. Although a robust body of theory supports our understanding of sexual selection, little empirical data has been brought to bear regarding how strong sexual selection impacts patterns of genome evolution. A striking example of a clade under strong sexual selection is the neotropical family Pipridae, the manakins. These birds feature acrobatic courtship displays, morphological and endocrine modifications to support these displays and striking plumage colors, each of which varies across the manakin phylogeny. In this study we sequenced and assembled the genomes of five manakin species and compared those genomes to closely related avian outgroups. Using comparative genomic approaches, we find evidence of selection on both protein coding sequences and conserved noncoding elements associated with a dietary shift towards frugivory, sensory perception and muscle performance. Functional testing of taste receptors reveal important changes that occur before the radiation, implicating frugivory as a key factor promoting sexual selection. Taken together our analyses characterize patterns of genomic change preceding and during a radiation under strong sexual selection.

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