A new study led by Dr. Jahnavi Joshi’s team at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has found that centipedes’ genetic diversity is influenced by species traits and geographic factors. Centipedes are a soil invertebrate group with 420 million years of evolutionary history. Genetic diversity is important for how organisms respond to environmental changes and influences species diversity.
Previous research on genetic diversity has been limited to a few well-studied animal groups that have readily available genetic sequence information. The researchers used DNA sequences and traits such as body size, vision, and parental care, along with distribution data obtained from museum databases and published literature to study centipedes. As ancient arthropods with diverse species traits and biogeographic histories, centipedes offered a unique opportunity to investigate the factors influencing genetic diversity in non-traditional laboratory models.
The study findings suggest that common underlying processes likely shape genetic diversity across different animal groups, despite their distinct evolutionary histories. Dr. Bharti Dharapuram, a postdoctoral researcher and one of the study’s authors, emphasizes that this study provides hypotheses regarding the relationship between species traits and population structure.
The research conducted by Dr. Jahnavi Joshi’s group sheds light on the factors driving genetic diversity in centipedes and paves the way for future investigations into the interplay between species traits and population structure at a more localized level.