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Genetic bases and evolutive processes of the variation in color patterns in amphibians

Grant number: 19/04076-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Cooperation agreement: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)
Principal researcher:Célio Fernando Baptista Haddad
Grantee:Pedro Paulo Goulart Taucce
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/07586-4 - Colours hidden in the forest: evolutionary genomics of colour patterns in neotropical frogs, AP.R


The study of the evolutionary processes that originate phenotypic diversity is one of the most important endeavours in biology because it can offer insights into the process of adaptation in natural populations. Colouration patterns are remarkable traits for studying the mutational mechanisms underlying phenotypic diversity and how these affect patterns of evolutionary change [1,2]. Among vertebrates, amphibians are one of the most interesting groups, exhibiting a vast variation in colouration, whose function has been mainly associated with thermoregulation, UV protection, conspecific communication, and predator avoidance [3]. Despite significant advances have been made on this topic in both invertebrates and vertebrates [4-6], the genetic basis of colouration in amphibians is still surprisingly unknown. The South American leaf-frogs of the Phyllomedusa burmeisteri group, which have been widely studied by our research team [e.g. 7-9], is a compelling case to study the evolution of colour pattern diversity in amphibians. First, they present striking variation in the patterns of bright colours at the hidden surfaces of thighs, which have been interpreted as a case of aposematism, one of the most widespread defensive strategy among Neotropical amphibians [10]. Second, colour morphs variants coexist in some populations, offering, thus a unique opportunity for genetic mapping studies. Finally, these species meet in a well-defined contact zone, making this system an excellent model to understand the impact of colour polymorphism in the dynamics of speciation, and how selection shapes both phenotypic and genetic variation.The proposed research seeks to investigate the GENETIC BASES AND EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES UNDERLYING COLOUR VARIATION IN AMPHIBIANS. To this end, we will 1) perform a genome-wide association analysis using high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques, including exome capture and RNA sequencing; 2) study gene expression of associated genes in several developmental stages; and 3) investigate patterns of allele frequency change across the contact zone for causative loci and randomly chosen markers. Beyond these specific goals, we are convinced that the genomic data generated for the target species will be an important resource for further evolutionary studies, conservation efforts, and in particular for human medicinal research, since phyllomedusids are a rich source of peptides with great nanobiotechnological applications. With an International team of researchers with complementary skills and expertise, with 10-years' experience in developing joint research, we expect to be at the forefront of this underexplored evolutionary field, publishing articles in leading international journals and produce outreach publications for enhancing awareness and/or disseminating research based information to the general public. This proposal will offer the opportunity for advance training to MSc and PhD students, and provide one postdoctoral contract.

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Scientific publications (7)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MOTTA, ANA PAULA; GOULART TAUCCE, PEDRO PAULO; BAPTISTA HADDAD, CELIO FERNANDO; CANEDO, CLARISSA. A new terraranan genus from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest with comments on the systematics of Brachycephaloidea (Amphibia: Anura). JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH, v. 59, n. 3 FEB 2021. Web of Science Citations: 0.
TAUCCE, PEDRO P. G.; COSTA-CAMPOS, CARLOS E.; HADDAD, CELIO F. B.; DE CARVALHO, THIAGO R. A New Amazonian Species of the Diminutive Frog Genus Adelophryne (Anura: Brachycephaloidea: Eleutherodactylidae) from the State of Amapa, Northern Brazil. Copeia, v. 108, n. 4, p. 746-757, DEC 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
VERA CANDIOTI, FLORENCIA; GOLDBERG, JAVIER; AKMENTINS, MAURICIO S.; NOGUEIRA COSTA, PAULO; GOULART TAUCCE, PEDRO PAULO; POMBAL, JR., JOSE. Skeleton in the closet: hidden diversity in patterns of cranial and postcranial ontogeny in Neotropical direct-developing frogs (Anura: Brachycephaloidea). ORGANISMS DIVERSITY & EVOLUTION, v. 20, n. 4, p. 763-783, DEC 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
TAUCCE, PEDRO P. G.; NASCIMENTO, JAMILE S.; TREVISAN, CAMILA C.; LEITE, FELIPE S. F.; SANTANA, DIEGO J.; HADDAD, CELIO F. B.; NAPOLI, MARCELO F. A New Rupicolous Species of the Pristimantis conspicillatus Group (Anura: Brachycephaloidea: Craugastoridae) from Central Bahia, Brazil. Journal of Herpetology, v. 54, n. 2, p. 245-257, JUN 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
CASSINI, CARLA S.; TAUCCE, PEDRO P. G.; DE CARVALHO, THIAGO R.; FOUQUET, ANTOINE; SOLE, MIRCO; HADDAD, CELIO F. B.; GARCIA, PAULO C. A. One step beyond a broad molecular phylogenetic analysis: Species delimitation of Adenomera marmorata Steindachner, 1867 (Anura: Leptodactylidae). PLoS One, v. 15, n. 2 FEB 21 2020. Web of Science Citations: 1.
GOLDBERG, JAVIER; TAUCCE, PEDRO P. G.; INES QUINZIO, SILVIA; HADDAD, CELIO F. B.; VERA CANDIOTI, FLORENCIA. Increasing our knowledge on direct-developing frogs: The ontogeny of Ischnocnema henselii (Anura: Brachycephalidae). ZOOLOGISCHER ANZEIGER, v. 284, p. 78-87, JAN 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
TAUCCE, PEDRO P. G.; ZAIDAN, BARBARA F.; ZAHER, HUSSAM; GARCIA, PAULO C. A. A new species of Ischnocnema Reinhardt and Lutken, 1862 (Anura: Brachycephalidae) of the I. lactea species series from southeastern Brazil. Zootaxa, v. 4706, n. 4, p. 531-545, DEC 11 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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