Does Evolution Repeat Itself? Genome Evolution and Phenotypic Convergence in Island Lizards

  • Losos, Jonathan (Chief Investigator)
  • Menke, Douglas (Chief Investigator)
  • Whiting, Martin (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Kawata, Masakado (Chief Investigator)

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    One of the great questions concerns fate vs. chance. Are events destined to occur, or are they the result of specific antecedent conditions, any of which, were they different, would have led to a different outcome? Anolis lizards are recognized as among the best groups to investigate this question, and detailed study of their evolution has suggested a strong role for determinism. These studies, however, have focused on the phenotype—the extent to which genome evolution is deterministic or historically contingent is an open question. Until recently, detailed investigation of genome evolution has been limited to model organisms, for which little data are available on their ecology and behavior in natural settings, precluding study of the factors that have shaped their evolution. Now, advances in genomics and gene editing methods allow evolution to be studied in non-model organisms, permitting holistic studies from the genome to selective pressures in nature. Anolis lizards are the ideal group to combine genomic and organismal studies at multiple levels (anatomy, physiology, behavior) to address the extent to which evolutionary diversification is deterministic or contingent.
    Short titleDoes evolution repeat itself?
    Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/23