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Modularity and its evolutionary consequences


Modularity in Biology refers to the pattern of connections among elements: genes, proteins, morphological traits. This pattern emerges whenever a high connectivity between some elements in the system exists, forming modules, and at the same time those same elements are more loosely connected to other elements that compose other modules. Many types of modules have been recognized in Biology, such as: a) functional, composed of characters that work together to perform a function, b) development, which correspond to parts of an embryo that are relatively autonomous with respect to the developing pattern and differentiation, or an independent signaling cascade, c) variation modules, composed of characters that vary together and are relatively independent of other sets of characters. One way to study the modularity of organisms is to investigate the pattern of genetic covariances and correlations between their characters, because traits with common function or development tend to form relatively independent groups of variation among themselves, or modules. If modular organization exists in a organism, the expectation would be a pattern of high correlations between traits within the modules and low correlations between traits in different modules. Studying the modularity, or the morphological integration of organisms, is fundamental to understanding the evolution of complex features, as the modular structure influences the multivariate evolution: the relationship between the inherited patterns of modular covariation and patterns of selection may, for example, restrict or facilitate certain evolutionary paths for a population. In this project we aim to analyze the patterns of modularity and its evolutionary consequences for the phenotypic evolution in mammals in a comparative way, explicitly incorporating the phylogeny of the groups. Those Phylogenies will be obtained in the literature for some groups and others will be produced within the scope of the project itself. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
A theory in motion 
Teoría en construcción 
Theory under construction 
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Scientific publications (18)
(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)
PAVAN, ANA CAROLINA; MARROIG, GABRIEL. Integrating multiple evidences in taxonomy: species diversity and phylogeny of mustached bats (Mormoopidae: Pteronotus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, v. 103, p. 184-198, . (11/14295-7)
PORTO, ARTHUR; SCHMELTER, RYAN; VANDEBERG, JOHN L.; MARROIG, GABRIEL; CHEVERUD, JAMES M.. Evolution of the Genotype-to-Phenotype Map and the Cost of Pleiotropy in Mammals. Genetics, v. 204, n. 4, p. 1601+, . (11/14295-7)
ASSIS, A. P. A.; PATTON, J. L.; HUBBE, A.; MARROIG, G.. Directional selection effects on patterns of phenotypic (co)variation in wild populations. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v. 283, n. 1843, . (12/00852-4, 12/24937-9, 11/14295-7)
ROSSONI, DANIELA M.; ASSIS, ANA PAULA A.; GIANNINI, NORBERTO P.; MARROIG, GABRIEL. Intense natural selection preceded the invasion of new adaptive zones during the radiation of New World leaf-nosed bats. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 7, . (12/00852-4, 14/12632-4, 11/14295-7)
MACHADO, FABIO A.; MARROIG, GABRIEL; HUBBE, ALEX. he pre-eminent role of directional selection in generating extreme morphological change in glyptodonts (Cingulata; Xenarthra. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v. 289, n. 1967, . (12/24937-9, 11/14295-7)
WOLF, JASON B.; HOWIE, JENNIFER A.; PARKINSON, KATIE; GRUENHEIT, NICOLE; MELO, DIOGO; ROZEN, DANIEL; THOMPSON, CHRISTOPHER R. L.. Fitness Trade-offs Result in the Illusion of Social Success. Current Biology, v. 25, n. 8, p. 1086-1090, . (11/14295-7)
PENNA, ANNA; MELO, DIOGO; BERNARDI, SANDRA; OYARZABAL, MARIA INES; MARROIG, GABRIEL. The evolution of phenotypic integration: How directional selection reshapes covariation in mice. Evolution, v. 71, n. 10, p. 2370-2380, . (13/06577-8, 11/14295-7, 14/26262-4)
HUBBE, ALEX; MELO, DIOGO; MARROIG, GABRIEL. A case study of extant and extinct Xenarthra cranium covariance structure: implications and applications to paleontology. PALEOBIOLOGY, v. 42, n. 3, p. 465-488, . (12/24937-9, 11/14295-7, 14/26262-4)
ASSIS, ANA PAULA A.; ROSSONI, DANIELA M.; PATTON, JAMES L.; MARROIG, GABRIEL. Evolutionary processes and its environmental correlates in the cranial morphology of western chipmunks (Tamias). Evolution, v. 71, n. 3, p. 595-609, . (14/12632-4, 11/14295-7, 12/00852-4)
SIMON, MONIQUE NOUAILHETAS; MACHADO, FABIO ANDRADE; MARROIG, GABRIEL. High evolutionary constraints limited adaptive responses to past climate changes in toad skulls. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v. 283, n. 1841, . (11/14295-7, 11/21674-4, 09/54203-4, 11/07584-2)
PAVAN, ANA C.; MARROIG, GABRIEL. Timing and patterns of diversification in the Neotropical bat genus Pteronotus (Mormoopidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, v. 108, p. 61-69, . (11/14295-7)
MELO, DIOGO; MARROIG, GABRIEL. Directional selection can drive the evolution of modularity in complex traits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, v. 112, n. 2, p. 470-475, . (11/14295-7, 10/04497-9)
MELO, DIOGO; MARROIG, GABRIEL; WOLF, JASON B.. Genomic Perspective on Multivariate Variation, Pleiotropy, and Evolution. JOURNAL OF HEREDITY, v. 110, n. 4, SI, p. 479-493, . (15/21811-2, 11/14295-7, 14/26262-4, 13/50402-8)

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