Evolution av genetisk rekombination hos sociala insekter

Tidsperiod: 2015-01-01 till 2018-12-31

Projektledare: Matthew Webster

Medarbetare: Ingemar Fries, Joachim de Miranda, Joachim Rodrigues De Miranda

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 3 000 000 SEK

Sex and recombination are ubiquitous in nature but evolutionary biologists struggle to explain their origins and evolution. Social insects have the highest recombination rates recorded in the animal kingdom. We aim to uncover the evolutionary forces responsible for these high rates using high-throughput genomics, using a few species of bee. A major advantage of studying recombination in bees is that they produce haploid offspring, allowing us to directly observe recombination on a genome scale by genome sequencing. We will construct ultra-high resolution maps of recombination in both social and non-social bee species using comparative population genomics and direct sequencing of haploids, which will allow us to test how the transition to sociality affected recombination rate. We will also test the Red Queen hypothesis, a prominent theory for evolution of sex, by directly measuring recombination rates in haploid offspring from populations subjected to long-term selection by parasites. Our results will shed light on the role of recombination in adaptation and evolution and lead to insights into the molecular mechanisms for initiating recombination events in invertebrates. By uncovering the selective pressures leading to high rates in social insects, we aim to explain the evolutionary advantages of sex and recombination, one of the most important and elusive questions in biology.