Comparative and adaptive genomics for the study of Macaronesian island radiations: Cape Verde Conus marine snails and their conotoxins as a model system
This project is centered on oceanic island biotas, which have been long recognized as simplified natural experiments of evolution, and provide tractable case studies for assessing the genomic mechanisms underlying the generation of biodiversity. In particular, we selected for the study tthe marine radiation of Africonus (Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda) in Cape Verde archipelago.
We aim to obtain transcriptomic and genomic data to understand the evolutionary processes and genomic mechanisms underlying this island radiation. Through an evolutionary comparative approach that uses robust phylogenies reconstructed based on mitochondrial and nuclear multi-gene data sets, we aim to identify candidate genes and gene functions participating in diversification, as well as changes in the number of genes (including gene gains and losses), genetic variants (nucleotide and amino acid changes), and gene expression pattern and level differences. We focus our analyses in the conotoxin synthesis system in order to 1) further understand the diversity and evolution of the conotoxin synthesis system in the genus Africonus, and 2) determine the genomic changes associated with the vermivory/ piscivory diet shift.