Lagartas não evoluíram de onicóforos por hibridogênese

sábado, outubro 31, 2009

Caterpillars did not evolve from onychophorans by hybridogenesis

Michael W. Hart a,1 and Richard K. Grosberg b

+ Author Affiliations

aDepartment of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6; and

bCollege of Biological Sciences and Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Edited by David M. Hillis, University of Texas, Austin, TX, and approved October 13, 2009 (received for review September 14, 2009)


The evolution and loss of distinctive larval forms in animal life cycles have produced complex patterns of similarity and difference among life-history stages and major animal lineages. One example of this similarity is the morphological forms of Onychophora (velvet worms) and the caterpillar-like larvae of some insects. Williamson [(2009) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:15786–15790] has made the astonishing and unfounded claim that the ancestors of the velvet worms directly gave rise to insect caterpillars via hybridization and that evidence of this ancient “larval transfer” could be found in comparisons among the genomes of extant onychophorans, insects with larvae, and insects without larvae. Williamson has made a series of predictions arising from his hypothesis and urged genomicists to test them. Here, we use data already in the literature to show these predictions to be false. Hybridogenesis between distantly related animals does not explain patterns of morphological and life-history evolution in general, and the genes and genomes of animals provide strong evidence against hybridization or larval transfer between a velvet worm and an insect in particular.

hybridization insect evolution interphyletic crosses larval transfer metamorphosis


1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Author contributions: M.W.H. and R.K.G. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.


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