Detecting insect adaptations requires consideration of variability in the abiotic environment and in ‘omics

Advances in tools to gather environmental, phenotypic, and molecular data have accelerated our ability to detect abiotic drivers of variation across the genome-to-phenome spectrum in model and non-model insects. However, differences in the spatial and temporal resolution of these data sets may create gaps in our understanding of linkages between environment, genotype, and phenotype that yield missed or misleading results about adaptive variation. In this review we highlight sources of variability that might impact studies of phenotypic and ‘omic environmental adaptation, challenges to collecting data at relevant scales, and possible solutions that link intensive fine-scale reductionist studies of mechanisms to large-scale biogeographic patterns.

Written by: Michael E Dillon, Jeffrey D Lozier

Spatial and temporal variation in abiotic stressors challenges characterization of environments, of insect phenotypes, and therefore of inference of abiotic adaptation.

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