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  1. Abstract

    Organisms vary in their dispersal abilities, and these differences can have important biological consequences, such as impacting the likelihood of hybridization events. However, there is still much to learn about the factors influencing hybridization, and specifically how dispersal ability affects the opportunities for hybridization. Here, using the ecological replicate system of dove wing and body lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera), we show that species with higher dispersal abilities exhibited increased genomic signatures of introgression. Specifically, we found a higher proportion of introgressed genomic reads and more reticulated phylogenetic networks in wing lice, the louse group with higher dispersal abilities. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that differences in dispersal ability might drive the extent of introgression through hybridization.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Background Feather feeding lice are abundant and diverse ectoparasites that complete their entire life cycle on an avian host. The principal or sole source of nutrition for these lice is feathers. Feathers appear to lack four amino acids that the lice would require to complete development and reproduce. Several insect groups have acquired heritable and intracellular bacteria that can synthesize metabolites absent in an insect’s diet, allowing insects to feed exclusively on nutrient-poor resources. Multiple species of feather feeding lice have been shown to harbor heritable and intracellular bacteria. We expected that these bacteria augment the louse’s diet with amino acids and facilitated the evolution of these diverse and specialized parasites. Heritable symbionts of insects often have small genomes that contain a minimal set of genes needed to maintain essential cell functions and synthesize metabolites absent in the host insect’s diet. Therefore, we expected the genome of a bacterial endosymbiont in feather lice would be small, but encode pathways for biosynthesis of amino acids. Results We sequenced the genome of a bacterial symbiont from a feather feeding louse ( Columbicola wolffhuegeli ) that parasitizes the Pied Imperial Pigeon ( Ducula bicolor ) and used its genome to predict metabolismmore »of amino acids based on the presence or absence of genes. We found that this bacterial symbiont has a small genome, similar to the genomes of heritable symbionts described in other insect groups. However, we failed to identify many of the genes that we expected would support metabolism of amino acids in the symbiont genome. We also evaluated other gene pathways and features of the highly reduced genome of this symbiotic bacterium. Conclusions Based on the data collected in this study, it does not appear that this bacterial symbiont can synthesize amino acids needed to complement the diet of a feather feeding louse. Our results raise additional questions about the biology of feather chewing lice and the roles of symbiotic bacteria in evolution of diverse avian parasites.« less
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  5. Buckley, Thomas (Ed.)
    Abstract The insect order Psocodea is a diverse lineage comprising both parasitic (Phthiraptera) and nonparasitic members (Psocoptera). The extreme age and ecological diversity of the group may be associated with major genomic changes, such as base compositional biases expected to affect phylogenetic inference. Divergent morphology between parasitic and nonparasitic members has also obscured the origins of parasitism within the order. We conducted a phylogenomic analysis on the order Psocodea utilizing both transcriptome and genome sequencing to obtain a data set of 2370 orthologous genes. All phylogenomic analyses, including both concatenated and coalescent methods suggest a single origin of parasitism within the order Psocodea, resolving conflicting results from previous studies. This phylogeny allows us to propose a stable ordinal level classification scheme that retains significant taxonomic names present in historical scientific literature and reflects the evolution of the group as a whole. A dating analysis, with internal nodes calibrated by fossil evidence, suggests an origin of parasitism that predates the K-Pg boundary. Nucleotide compositional biases are detected in third and first codon positions and result in the anomalous placement of the Amphientometae as sister to Psocomorpha when all nucleotide sites are analyzed. Likelihood-mapping and quartet sampling methods demonstrate that base compositionalmore »biases can also have an effect on quartet-based methods.[Illumina; Phthiraptera; Psocoptera; quartet sampling; recoding methods.]« less