Arthropods comprise the largest and most diverse phylum on Earth and play vital roles in nearly every ecosystem. Their diversity stems in part from variations on a conserved body plan, resulting from and recorded in adaptive changes in the genome. Dissection of the genomic record of sequence change enables broad questions regarding genome evolution to be addressed, even across hyper-diverse taxa within arthropods.
Using 76 whole genome sequences representing 21 orders spanning more than 500 million years of arthropod evolution, we document changes in gene and protein domain content and provide temporal and phylogenetic context for interpreting these innovations. We identify many novel gene families that arose early in the evolution of arthropods and during the diversification of insects into modern orders. We reveal unexpected variation in patterns of DNA methylation across arthropods and examples of gene family and protein domain evolution coincident with the appearance of notable phenotypic and physiological adaptations such as flight, metamorphosis, sociality, and chemoperception.
These analyses demonstrate how large-scale comparative genomics can provide broad new insights into the genotype to phenotype map and generate testable hypotheses about the evolution of animal diversity.
Thomas GWC, Dohmen E, Hughes DST, Murali SC, Poelchau M, Glastad K, Anstead CA, Ayoub NA, Batterham P, Bellair M, Binford GJ, Chao H, Chen YH, Childers C, Dinh H, Doddapaneni HV, Duan JJ, Dugan S, Esposito LA, Friedrich M, Garb J, Gasser RB, Goodisman MAD, Gundersen-Rindal DE, Han Y, Handler AM, Hatakeyama M, Hering L, Hunter WB, Ioannidis P, Jayaseelan JC, Kalra D, Khila A, Korhonen PK Lee CE, Lee SL, Li Y, Lindsey ARI, Mayer G, McGregor AP, McKenna DD, Misof B, Munidasa M, Munoz-Torres M, Muzny DM, Niehuis O, Osuji-Lacy N, Palli SR, Panfilio KA, Pechmann M, Perry T, Peters RS, Poynton HC, Prpic NM, Qu J, Rotenberg D, Schal C, Schoville SD, Scully ED, Skinner E, Sloan DB, Stouthamer R, Strand MR, Szucsich NU, Wijeratne A, Young ND, Zattara EE, Benoit JB, Zdobnov EM, Pfrender ME, Hackett KJ, Werren JH, Worley KC, Gibbs RA, Chipman AD, Waterhouse RM, Bornberg-Bauer E, Hahn MW, Richards S. Genome Biol. 2020 Jan 23;21(1):15. doi: 10.1186/s13059-019-1925-7.