Comparative analyses identify genomic features potentially involved in the evolution of birds-of-paradise

Prost, Stefan, Armstrong, Ellie E., Nylander, Johan, Thomas, Gregg W. C., Suh, Alexander ORCID:, Petersen, Bent, Dalen, Love, Benz, Brett W., Blom, Mozes P. K., Palkopoulou, Eleftheria, Ericson, Per G. P. and Irestedt, Martin (2019) Comparative analyses identify genomic features potentially involved in the evolution of birds-of-paradise. GigaScience, 8 (5). ISSN 2047-217X

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The diverse array of phenotypes and courtship displays exhibited by birds-of-paradise have long fascinated scientists and nonscientists alike. Remarkably, almost nothing is known about the genomics of this iconic radiation. There are 41 species in 16 genera currently recognized within the birds-of-paradise family (Paradisaeidae), most of which are endemic to the island of New Guinea. In this study, we sequenced genomes of representatives from all five major clades within this family to characterize genomic changes that may have played a role in the evolution of the group’s extensive phenotypic diversity. We found genes important for coloration, morphology, and feather and eye development to be under positive selection. In birds-of-paradise with complex lekking systems and strong sexual dimorphism, the core birds-of-paradise, we found Gene Ontology categories for “startle response” and “olfactory receptor activity” to be enriched among the gene families expanding significantly faster compared to the other birds in our study. Furthermore, we found novel families of retrovirus-like retrotransposons active in all three de novo genomes since the early diversification of the birds-of-paradise group, which might have played a role in the evolution of this fascinating group of birds.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: M.I. and P.E. were supported by the Swedish Research Council (grant 621-2013-5161 to P.E. and grant 621-2014-5113 to M.I.). We also acknowledge support from the Science for Life Laboratory, the National Genomics Infrastructure, Uppmax, and the EvoLab at the University of California Berkeley for providing resources for massive parallel sequencing and computational infrastructure. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: birds-of-paradise,comparative genomics,gene gain-loss,genome structure,positive selection,health informatics,computer science applications ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2718
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2022 13:37
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2024 00:51
DOI: 10.1093/gigascience/giz003

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