Parallel genomic architecture underlies repeated sexual signal divergence in Hawaiian Laupala crickets

Thomas Blankers*, Kevin P. Oh, Kerry L. Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


When the same phenotype evolves repeatedly, we can explore the predictability of genetic changes underlying phenotypic evolution. Theory suggests that genetic parallelism is less likely when phenotypic changes are governed by many small-effect loci compared to few of major effect, because different combinations of genetic changes can result in the same quantitative outcome. However, some genetic trajectories might be favoured over others, making a shared genetic basis to repeated polygenic evolution more likely. To examine this, we studied the genetics of parallel male mating song evolution in the Hawaiian cricket Laupala. We compared quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying song divergence in three species pairs varying in phenotypic distance. We tested whether replicated song divergence between species involves the same QTL and whether the likelihood of QTL sharing is related to QTL effect size. Contrary to theoretical predictions, we find substantial parallelism in polygenic genetic architectures underlying repeated song divergence. QTL overlapped more frequently than expected based on simulated QTL analyses. Interestingly, QTL effect size did not predict QTL sharing, but did correlate with magnitude of phenotypic divergence. We highlight potential mechanisms driving these constraints on cricket song evolution and discuss a scenario that consolidates empirical quantitative genetic observations with micro-mutational theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20191479
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1912
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Laupala
  • Parallel evolution
  • Quantitative trait loci
  • Sexual communication
  • Speciation


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