Genetic basis of Solanceae specialization in hawkmoths (Lepdoptera: Sphinigidae)

ID: 613 / 349

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Genetic basis of Solanceae specialization in hawkmoths (Lepdoptera: Sphinigidae)


Jay K Goldberg1,2,3, R Keating Godfrey4, Carson W Allan5, Luciano Matzkin2,3,5, Michael S Barker2, Luciano Matzkin2,3,5, Jayson Talag6, Dario Copetti6, Akito Kawahara4, Judith Bronstein2,3,5

Affiliations: 1 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich, Norfolk, UK 2 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA 3 BIO5 Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA 4 McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA 5 Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA 6 Arizona Genomics Institute, Tucson, AZ, USA


Most insects are specialized and only feed upon a limited number of host plants, a likely result of the coevolutionary arms-race that governs plant-insect interactions. This is notably the case with herbivores of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) as they must tolerate many noxious chemical defenses. Perhaps the most well-known of Solanceaous specializing herbivore is the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta), owing to its status as a model species for studies of insect physiology and behavior; however, its specialization upon Solanceous plants is an oddity within the hawkmoth family (Lepidoptera: Sphinigdae) as most species do not use Solanceous hosts plants and the genetic basis of this life-history change remains unexplored. By taking a comparative genomics approach enabled by dozens of recently sequenced herbivore and plant species, we explored the genetic basis of coevolution between Solanacous plants and herbivorus hawkmoths. We found numeous gene family expansions and contractions associated with shifts from non-solanceous to Solanceous host plants and that some of these gain/loss events occured at the same time as similar events within the Solanaceae, as is predicted by models of plant-herbivore coevolution. These results substanially expand our understand of the coevolutionary process and provide a foundation for future functional studies of the mechanisms governing ecological interactions and the generation of biodiversity.

Symposia selection: 110, 171, 109

Key words: Solanaceae, hawkmoths, herbivory, species interactions