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A Genomic and Macroevolutionary Approach to Studying Diversification in an Insect-Plant Arms Race

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 GAIA project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the GAIA project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "GAIA" about.

proliferation    families    ancestral    phylogenies    reconstruct    association    phylogeny    transcriptomes    macroevolutionary    model    sequencing    fundamental    diversified    insect    evolution    driving    longstanding    dated    hypothesis    calibrated    genes    compare    plants    evolutionary    caterpillars    despite    attributed    vast    origin    arms    timescales    radiate    estimate    look    clades    versus    elusive    herbivorous    swallowtail    preferences    race    host    mechanisms    dynamics    biologists    questions    complete    branches    papilionidae    multidisciplinary    subsequent    scales    positive    genome    answers    combined    butterflies    diversity    underlying    matching    exploring    shifting    traits    genomic    tree    origins    shifts    concurrently    assessing    coevolution    shaping    species    relying    prey    shift    space    framework    plant    ecological    interactions    survey    exuberant    phylogenetic    time    insects    illustrate    diversification    rates    pinpoint    life    escape   

Project "GAIA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
city: PARIS
postcode: 75794

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-03-01   to  2025-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The exuberant proliferation of herbivorous insects is often attributed to their association with plants, making their interactions of particular importance to understanding what is driving their vast diversity. Early biologists exploring the underlying factors proposed the hypothesis of coevolution (and the escape and radiate model). Despite general support for this hypothesis, the macroevolutionary and genomic consequences of the origins and evolutionary dynamics of host-plant shifts remain elusive. Recent results illustrate the need for a multidisciplinary approach to assessing the role of host plants in shaping insect diversity at macroevolutionary scales. Using the swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae) and their host plants, this project will develop a macroevolutionary and genomic framework to studying the origin and evolution of an arms race through time and space. We will build a complete species-level phylogeny for Papilionidae relying on whole-genome sequencing for all species. This time-calibrated phylogeny will be combined with species traits to estimate ancestral host-plant preferences and subsequent host-plant shifts. We will reconstruct dated phylogenies of the main host-plant families to estimate whether the butterflies and their host plants diversified concurrently through time and space. Diversification rates will be estimated for shifting/non-shifting and prey/non-prey clades. A matching genomic survey will to look for genes under positive selection by comparing sets of phylogenetic branches that experienced a host-plant shift versus branches without such a shift. Transcriptomes will be characterized for caterpillars and their plants to identify and pinpoint the genes involved in the arms race, as well as to compare them across the swallowtail tree of life. With this ambitious research proposal, we aim to provide answers to longstanding and fundamental evolutionary questions on the mechanisms behind ecological interactions over long timescales.

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The information about "GAIA" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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