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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 28;6:24863. doi: 10.1038/srep24863.

Complete genomes of Hairstreak butterflies, their speciation, and nucleo-mitochondrial incongruence.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75390-8816, USA.
Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, PO Box 37012, NHB Stop 105, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 20013-7012 USA.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75390-9050, USA.


Comparison of complete genomes of closely related species enables research on speciation and how phenotype is determined by genotype. Lepidoptera, an insect order of 150,000 species with diverse phenotypes, is well-suited for such comparative genomics studies if new genomes, which cover additional Lepidoptera families are acquired. We report a 729 Mbp genome assembly of the Calycopis cecrops, the first genome from the family Lycaenidae and the largest available Lepidoptera genome. As detritivore, Calycopis shows expansion in detoxification and digestion enzymes. We further obtained complete genomes of 8 Calycopis specimens: 3 C. cecrops and 5 C. isobeon, including a dry specimen stored in the museum for 30 years. The two species differ subtly in phenotype and cannot be differentiated by mitochondrial DNA. However, nuclear genomes revealed a deep split between them. Genes that can clearly separate the two species (speciation hotspots) mostly pertain to circadian clock, mating behavior, transcription regulation, development and cytoskeleton. The speciation hotspots and their function significantly overlap with those we previously found in Pterourus, suggesting common speciation mechanisms in these butterflies.

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