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Organizers: Carol Eunmi Lee (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) and Sean Chun-Chang Chen (Taipei Medical University, Taiwan)
The phylum Arthropoda is the largest and most diverse group of animals on the planet, representing about 80% of all known animal species, encompassing insects, spiders, crustaceans, and numerous other taxa. With the current deluge of genomic data, we now have unprecedented power to make novel inferences regarding patterns and mechanisms of genome evolution. With these new genomic resources, we can better resolve evolutionary relationships among taxa, identify functional elements of the genome, gain insights into the mechanisms underlying genetic variation and adaptation, and understand patterns of genomic architecture evolution.
The evolution of arthropods is a captivating and intriguing subject, with numerous unanswered questions and ongoing debates among scientists. The earliest arthropods appeared in the fossil record ca. 540 million years ago, during the Cambrian Period. These ancient arthropods were simple, small, and had segmented bodies and jointed limbs, and resided in the oceans. However, over time, arthropods diversified and evolved a wide range of body plans and adaptations for different lifestyles and environments. For instance, arthropod taxa from different subphyla have colonized freshwater and terrestrial habitats multiple times independently, representing major evolutionary transitions. In addition, insects evolved wings and the ability to fly and spiders evolved venomous fangs and the ability to spin silk, making them effective predators. How are such morphological and functional innovations reflected in patterns of genome evolution?
In addition to uncovering fundamental insights into biological revolutions, understanding patterns and mechanisms of genome evolution of arthropods have critically important applications for medicine, agriculture, and conservation. For instance, Drosophila is an essential medical model, yet we have poor understanding of evolutionary history of insects within the Pancrustacea. Many insects are agricultural pests and invasive species, whereas others, such as the honeybee, are critically endangered in many locations. Yet, we have only begun obtaining genomes for many important species.
Thus, this symposium welcomes research exploring the patterns, processes, and/or mechanisms of genome architecture evolution of this exceptional group of animals. Talks of a more general conceptual nature on genome evolution and those on the genome architecture evolution of other invertebrates are also welcome.
-Michael Lynch, Arizona State University, USA
-Prashant Sharma, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
-Stephen Richards, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
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