Pau's first first-authored paper has been published in Molecular Ecology!
In this manuscript, we characterized the gene repertoire involved in chemoreception in the subterranean beetle Speonomus longicornis (the first time this was done in a cave animal with the exception of fish). Our results suggested a diminished diversity of odorant and gustatory gene repertoires compared to polyphagous beetles that inhabit surface habitats. Moreover, S. longicornis showed a large diversity of odorant- binding proteins, suggesting an important role of these proteins in capturing airborne chemical cues. We also identified some interesting gene duplications and losses, such as the loss of sugar receptors. Altogether, our results shed light on the genomic basis of chemoreception in this cave-dwelling species.
This manuscript is particularly special for two reasons. First, it is
Pau's first first-authored paper, who did a terrific job with the data analysis and the writing. Second, it is the result of a collaboration with Ignacio, who unfortunately passed away when this study was still at an early stage, but I'm sure he would have find these findings very interesting.
This manuscript is dedicated to his memory.
Want to know more about how beetles conquered the subterranean environment? Spoiler alert: more results coming soon! ;-)