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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Evolutionary Ecology of Plant-Arthropod Interactions in Light of the “Omics” Sciences: A Broad Guide

de La Cruz Arguello, Ivan M.; Batsleer, Femke; Bonte, Dries; Diller, Carolina; Hytönen, Timo; Muola, Anne; Osorio, Sonia; Posé, David; Vandegehuchte, Martijn L.; Stenberg, Johan A

Abstract

Aboveground plant-arthropod interactions are typically complex, involving herbivores, predators, pollinators, and various other guilds that can strongly affect plant fitness, directly or indirectly, and individually, synergistically, or antagonistically. However, little is known about how ongoing natural selection by these interacting guilds shapes the evolution of plants, i.e., how they affect the differential survival and reproduction of genotypes due to differences in phenotypes in an environment. Recent technological advances, including next-generation sequencing, metabolomics, and gene-editing technologies along with traditional experimental approaches (e.g., quantitative genetics experiments), have enabled far more comprehensive exploration of the genes and traits involved in complex ecological interactions. Connecting different levels of biological organization (genes to communities) will enhance the understanding of evolutionary interactions in complex communities, but this requires a multidisciplinary approach. Here, we review traditional and modern methods and concepts, then highlight future avenues for studying the evolution of plant-arthropod interactions (e.g., plant-herbivore-pollinator interactions). Besides promoting a fundamental understanding of plant-associated arthropod communities’ genetic background and evolution, such knowledge can also help address many current global environmental challenges.

Keywords

plant-insect interactions; natural selection; metabolomics; genomics; plant defenses

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2022, Volume: 13, article number: 808427