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The Genome and Methylome of a Beetle with Complex Social Behavior,Nicrophorus vespilloides(Coleoptera: Silphidae)

C. B. Christopher, L. Ji, R. A. W. Wiberg, J. Shelton, E. C. McKinney, D. J. Parker, R. B. Meagher, K. M. Benowitz, E. M. Roy-Zokan, M. G. Ritchie, S. J. Brown, R. J. Schmitz, A. J. Moore, Chris Cunningham Orcid Logo

Genome Biology and Evolution, Volume: 7, Issue: 12, Pages: 3383 - 3396

Swansea University Author: Chris Cunningham Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1093/gbe/evv194

Abstract

Testing for conserved and novelmechanisms underlying phenotypic evolution requires a diversity of genomes available for comparisonspanning multiple independent lineages. For example, complex social behavior in insects has been investigated primarily witheusocial lineages, nearly all of which are Hym...

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Published in: Genome Biology and Evolution
ISSN: 1759-6653
Published: Oxford University Press (OUP) 2015
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa32676
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Abstract: Testing for conserved and novelmechanisms underlying phenotypic evolution requires a diversity of genomes available for comparisonspanning multiple independent lineages. For example, complex social behavior in insects has been investigated primarily witheusocial lineages, nearly all of which are Hymenoptera. If conserved genomic influences on sociality do exist, we need data from awider range of taxa that also vary in their levels of sociality. Here,we present the assembled and annotated genome of the subsocialbeetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, a species long used to investigate evolutionary questions of complex social behavior. We used thisgenome to address two questions. First, do aspects of life history, such as using a carcass to breed, predict overlap in gene modelsmore strongly than phylogeny? We found that the overlap in gene models was similar between N. vespilloides and all other insectgroups regardless of life history. Second, like other insects with highly developed social behavior but unlike other beetles, doesN. vespilloides have DNA methylation?We found strong evidence for an active DNA methylation system. The distribution of methylationwassimilar to other insects with exons having themostmethylatedCpGs. Methylation status appears highly conserved; 85%of themethylated genes in N. vespilloides are alsomethylated in the hymentopteran Nasonia vitripennis. The addition of this genomeadds a coleopteran resource to answer questions about the evolution and mechanistic basis of sociality and to address questionsabout the potential role of methylation in social behavior.
Keywords: burying beetle, epigenetics, parental care, sociality
College: College of Science
Issue: 12
Start Page: 3383
End Page: 3396