University of Cambridge > > Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Seminar Series > The role of recombination and rearrangement in the diversity and evolution of Heliconius butterflies

The role of recombination and rearrangement in the diversity and evolution of Heliconius butterflies

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oskar Brattstrom.

I am a new research fellow in the Zoology department, working with Chris Jiggins on Heliconius butterfly genomes. In this talk, I will present my plans for the next three years, drawing on recent research from the Heliconius community.

The Heliconius butterflies are a well-known example of a diverse adaptive radiation, with over fifty species, each with tens of subspecies, displaying considerable variation in complex wing patterning. In recent years, it has been shown that the wing patterns of seven sympatric subspecies of Heliconius numata are maintained by chromosomal inversions across the single major colour patterning locus in this species, preventing recombination and preserving many multigene haplotypes. I plan to investigate whether similar inversions can be found in other Heliconius species and whether the colour patterning loci are sufficient for sympatric speciation or whether additional loci may be involved. To do this, I will employ high throughput sequencing technologies, as we have recently done to demonstrate introgression in the Heliconius melpomene clade. I will discuss the importance of high throughput sequencing in making the case for introgression in Heliconius and show how we plan to use sequencing technology to investigate the role of recombination and rearrangement during speciation.

This talk is part of the Behaviour, Ecology & Evolution Seminar Series series.

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