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Now showing items 1 - 6 of 6

  • Mutation rate is linked to diversification in birds

    Lanfear, R.   Ho, S. Y. W.   Love, D.   Bromham, L.  

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  • Metabolic rate does not calibrate the molecular clock

    Lanfear, R.   Thomas, J. A.   Welch, J. J.   Brey, T.   Bromham, L.  

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  • PartitionFinder: Combined Selection of Partitioning Schemes and Substitution Models for Phylogenetic Analyses

    Lanfear, R.   Calcott, B.   Ho, S. Y. W.   Guindon, S.  

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  • Reply to Englund: Molecular evolution and diversification--Counting species is better than counting nodes when the phylogeny is unknown

    Lanfear, R.   Bromham, L.   Ho, S. Y. W.  

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  • The evolution of queen pheromones in the ant genus Lasius.

    Holman, L.   Lanfear, R.   D'Ettorre, P.  

    Queen pheromones are among the most important chemical messages regulating insect societies yet they remain largely undiscovered, hindering research into interesting proximate and ultimate questions. Identifying queen pheromones in multiple species would give new insight into the selective pressures and evolutionary constraints acting on these ubiquitous signals. Here, we present experimental and comparative evidence that 3-methylalkanes, hydrocarbons present on the queen's cuticle, are a queen pheromone throughout the ant genus Lasius. Interspecific variation in the chemical profile is consistent with 3-methylalkanes evolving more slowly than other types of hydrocarbons, perhaps due to differential selection or evolutionary constraints. We argue that the sensory ecology of the worker response imposes strong stabilizing selection on queen pheromones relative to other hydrocarbons. 3-Methylalkanes are also strongly physiologically and genetically coupled with fecundity in at least one Lasius species, which may translate into evolutionary constraints. Our results highlight how honest signalling could minimize evolutionary conflict over reproduction, promoting the evolution and maintenance of eusociality.
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  • Ancestral Notch-mediated segmentation revealed in the cockroach Periplaneta americana RID A-2022-2010

    Pueyo, J. I.   Lanfear, R.   Couso, J. P.  

    Through division into segments, animal bodies can reach higher degrees of complexity and functionality during development and evolution. The segmentation mechanisms of insects and vertebrates have been seen as fundamentally different at the anatomical and molecular levels, and consequently, independently evolved. However, this conclusion was mostly based on observations of derived insects such as Drosophila. We have cloned the Delta, Notch, and hairy genes in the cockroach Periplaneta americana, a basal insect with short germ-band development, and carried out functional assays of Notch activity during its segmentation. Our results show that, in more basal insects, segmentation involves a similar developmental mechanism to that in vertebrates, including induction of segment formation by cyclic segmental stripes of hairy and Delta expression. This result indicates that Notch-mediated segmentation is the ancestral segmentation mechanism of insects, and together with previous results in the literature [Stollewerk A, Schoppmeier M, Damen WGM (2003) Nature 423:863-865], of arthropods as well. The similarity with vertebrate segmentation might suggest that Notch-mediated segmentation is an ancient developmental mechanism inherited from a common ancestor of insects and vertebrates.
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