CE02 - Terre vivante

Multi-Scale Convergent Adaptation of Ostrinia pests – MUSCADO

Submission summary

A fundamental question in evolutionary biology is how repeatable evolutionary trajectories are when species adapt to a new environment: will similar evolutionary solutions be found, or will alternative routes be followed? Does evolution repeatability depend on the scale considered (phenotype, molecular determinants, genetic changes) and on the trait considered? We propose to study these questions taking advantage of Ostrinia pests as a model system. Following the introduction of maize from the Americas 500 years ago, into Europe and Asia, two maize-specialized species have independently emerged in this moth geneus, one on each side of the Eurasian continent: the Asian Corn Borer and the European Corn Borer. Both species have developed very similar adaptations to maize, that distinguish them from their presumed ancestor the Adzuki Bean Borer. Both have become major agricultural pests. But to what extent did history repeat itself in Asia and in Europe? The Ostrinia system offers an ideal opportunity to study the convergent evolution of complex traits in natural populations, the two synchronous host-shifts to maize constituting two replicates of a giant evolution experiment, starting from a similar Dicot-feeding ancestor. We will systematically study several key traits known to be involved in host-plant adaptation: female oviposition preference (host choice), larval physiological adaptation, and larval geotaxis. Using a combination of approaches at different levels, from genomics to phenotypes and association studies, we will decipher the evolutionary changes that underlie the emergence of these pests and the genetic architecture of each of these adaptive traits. By systematically comparing the evolutionary changes that occurred in Asia and in Europe, we will determine the degree of evolutionary repeatability in these host-shifts, and its consistency across scales and traits. This will provide important insights into the mechanisms of species formation, the genetic architecture of pest adaptation, and a unique glance into evolution acting in natura at continent scale.

Project coordination

Vincent Calcagno (Institut National de Recherche pour l'Agriculture, l'Alimentation et l'Environnement - Institut Sophia Agrobiotech)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


IEES Institut d'écologie et des sciences de l'environnement de Paris
INRAE - ISA Institut National de Recherche pour l'Agriculture, l'Alimentation et l'Environnement - Institut Sophia Agrobiotech
CBGP Centre de Biologie pour la Gestion des Populations
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, CAAS / Department of Agricultural Entomology
Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nor / Plant Protection Institute

Help of the ANR 482,818 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2021 - 48 Months

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