The transition to herbivory by insects is associated with distinct genomic signatures. Sequenced genomes of extant herbivore species reveal the result of these transitions, but in lieu of comparisons between herbivorous and non-herbivorous lineages that diverged recently, such datasets have shed less light on the evolutionary genomic processes involved in diet shifts to or from herbivory. Here, we propose that the comparative genomics of diet shifts between closely related insect herbivores and non-herbivores, and within densely-sampled clades of herbivores, will help reveal the extent to which herbivory evolves through the co-option and subtle remodeling of widely-conserved gene families with functions ancestrally distinct from phytophagy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science