The Birds-of-Paradise is a classic example that demonstrates how sexual selection can shape extreme phenotypic properties and complex behaviors. In this study we have sequenced the genomes of all currently described Bird-of-Paradise species to study the evolution of this family. Besides characterizing evolutionary relationships, we also investigate to what extent hybridization has been involved in shaping the extreme diversity recorded among this family. Species from distantly related groups share phenotypic features, and hybrid offspring have occasionally been recorded. Hybridization has therefore potentially been an important source of evolutionary diversification. Furthermore, in collaboration with several research groups around Europe, we also use our genome data to study the evolution of sex chromosomes and to identify genes under positive selection.
Alexander Suh, Deptartment of Evolutionary Biology (EBC),Uppsala University
Stefan Prost Department of Integrative Biology University of California, Berkeley