Kim L. Vertacnik

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Host race formation, the establishment of new populations using novel resources, is a major hypothesized mechanism of ecological speciation, especially in plant-feeding insects. The initial stages of host race formation will often involve phenotypic plasticity on the novel resource, with subsequent genetically based adaptations enhancing host-associated(More)
Although empirical data indicate that ecological speciation is prevalent in nature, the relative importance of different forms of reproductive isolation and the traits generating reproductive isolation remain unclear. To address these questions, we examined a pair of ecologically divergent pine-sawfly species: while Neodiprion pinetum specializes on a(More)
Adaptation to different host taxa is a key driver of insect diversification. Herbivorous insects are classic models for ecological and evolutionary research, but it is recent advances in sequencing, statistics, and molecular technologies that have cleared the way for investigations into the proximate genetic mechanisms underlying host shifts. In this(More)
Changes in gene regulation that underlie phenotypic evolution can be encoded directly in the DNA sequence or mediated by chromatin modifications such as DNA methylation. It has been hypothesized that the evolution of eusocial division of labor is associated with enhanced gene regulatory potential, which may include expansions in DNA methylation in the(More)
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