Seven questions on the chemical ecology and neurogenetics of resource-mediated speciation

Xiaocui Wang*, Thomas A. Verschut, Jean-Christophe Billeter, Martine E. Maan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Adaptation to different environments can result in reproductive isolation between populations and the formation of new species. Food resources are among the most important environmental factors shaping local adaptation. The chemosensory system, the most ubiquitous sensory channel in the animal kingdom, not only detects food resources and their chemical composition, but also mediates sexual communication and reproductive isolation in many taxa. Chemosensory divergence may thus play a crucial role in resource-mediated adaptation and speciation. Understanding how the chemosensory system can facilitate resource-mediated ecological speciation requires integrating mechanistic studies of the chemosensory system with ecological studies, to link the genetics and physiology of chemosensory properties to divergent adaptation. In this review, we use examples of insect research to present seven key questions that can be used to understand how the chemosensory system can facilitate resource-mediated ecological speciation in consumer populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number640486
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 18-Feb-2021


  • ecological speciation
  • resource heterogeneity
  • food
  • adaptation
  • reproductive isolation
  • insect

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