Catalysis Meeting

Genomic approaches to the study of adaptive radiation

PI(s): Thomas Kocher (University of New Hampshire)
Start Date: 1-Mar-2006
End Date: 12-Apr-2007
Keywords: genomics, gene structure and function, adaptive radiation

The thousands of cichlid fishes in the lakes of East Africa are the most extraordinary example of speciation and adaptive radiation in living vertebrates. The close relationship of these species, and the many remarkable instances of parallel and convergent evolution, make this a premier system for studying the genetic basis of evolutionary change. The DOE/JGI Community Sequencing Program will soon produce more than 500Mb of shotgun sequence from several species of Lake Malawi cichlid, which will allow the identification of thousands of single-nucleotide polymorphisms across the genome. We thus stand at an important juncture in the study of these species flocks. The goal of this Catalysis Meeting is stimulate the imaginations of cichlid researchers about how their research can be transformed by this new resource. For example, SNP polymorphisms can be used to address questions about gene flow and hybridization among recent species, to reconstruct evolutionary histories in this potentially reticulate radiation, and to facilitate the positional cloning of genes underlying adaptive variation in trophic morphology, color patterns and behavior among species. At the workshop, leading researchers from outside the cichlid field will introduce new conceptual approaches and methodologies which take advantage of genomic data. Cichlid researchers will outline the current state of research on the important evolutionary questions which need to be addressed. We hope to initiate a discussion of novel approaches which can significantly advance the field, and to begin coordination of data collection, storage and analysis to maximize the value of work performed in individual laboratories.