Abstracts (first author)
Experimental insights into the processes driving genome evolution
Understanding the processes driving patterns of genome variation is a major goal in biology. Although observational genome scans have usefully quantified heterogeneity in levels of genetic differentiation across the genome, it can be problematic to infer evolutionary process and causation from such genome scans alone because a particular pattern of genomic divergence could arise via various combinations of selection, recombination, drift, gene flow, mutation, and demographic history. In this regard, experiments have the potential to isolate the contributions of specific evolutionary processes to patterns of genome variation. In this talk, I describe the processes driving and constraining genome evolution in experimental populations of stick insects that were transplanted to novel host-plant and climatic environments in the wild. I contrast the experimental results with genome variation among long-established natural populations and discuss the collective empirical results in light of theory. The talk will illustrate how combined experimental and genomic approaches can move the field of genomics towards becoming a more predictive science.