CPB Seminar Series: Fall 2012
When: Tuesdays, 4:10 – 5:30PM
Where: 1022 Life Sciences Building
November 27: James Mallet, Distinguished Lecturer
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Title: “Hybridization and speciation in Amazonian butterflies: rainforest genomics”
Host: Rick Grosberg
It is a seductive idea that species are independent evolutionary units. Natural hybridization is rare in nature on a per-individual basis, but it may affect many species. Brightly-coloured Heliconius butterflies engage in Müllerian mimicry of other species. Although most of this mimicry is due to adaptive reconstruction of similar patterns, we’ve long suspected that colour patterns are exchanged among some closely related species that hybridize occasionally in nature. We have recently shown that genomic regions that determine mimicry have been exchanged repeatedly among species to form new, adaptive combinations. Through their joint effects on mating behaviour and signalling to predators, these novel colour patterns are also involved in triggering evolution of new species.