Enabling Anolis lizard evolutionary genomics with high quality de novo genomes

Dr. Anthony Geneva, PhD, Drexel University

Adaptation and speciation are largely responsible for the origin and maintenance of biological diversity but despite this central role in evolution, many fundamental questions about these interrelated processes remain. The adaptive radiation of Anolis lizards (anoles) is ideally suited for testing hypotheses about speciation and adaptation because they represent a replicated natural experiment. Anole species on the Greater Antilles that occupy similar ecological niches have independently evolved strikingly similar morphologies and behaviors. These ecomorphs have been the focus of decades of detailed analyses which strongly support the adaptive nature of this convergence. Nevertheless, we lack a clear understanding of how morphological adaptation contributes to speciation and we know virtually nothing about the genetic basis of these convergent traits.

In this webinar, Dr. Geneva presents ongoing research in his lab using anole genomes to investigate the processes of adaptation and speciation. He will detail the development of genomic resources for anoles including nine highly complete and contiguous reference genome assemblies and discuss NSF-funded plans to understand the genetic basis of morphological convergence in this group.