Winner of the Netherlands Evolutionary Biology prize 2019 announced!
Congratulations to Langqing Liu for winning the Netherlands Evolutionary Biology 2019 prize! He will receive €500, and would have given a plenary lecture at NLSEB2020, which was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The winner of the Netherlands Evolutionary Biology prize for the best publication in evolutionary biology published in 2019 is the paper by Langqing Liu and coauthors: Genomic analysis on pygmy hog reveals extensive interbreeding during wild boar expansion (Nature Communications 10, Article number: 1992 (2019)). This paper analyzes the genomes of the endangered Pygmy hog, and compares them to the genomes of individuals from nine other wild pig species, to reconstruct the evolutionary history of pig species. This evolutionary history is characterized by the recent successful expansion of one species, Wild boar, across a large geographic range, which completely replaced other pig species from the area; the Pygmy hog is the only surviving pig species that has not gone extinct in the Wild boar expansion area. The paper demonstrates that the expanding Wild boar did not simply replace the existing species, but it ‘absorbed’ them: clear evidence is presented of admixture between Wild boar and other pig species that it encountered during colonization, including Pygmy hog, whereby Wild boar incorporated genetic information from these other species into its genome. The authors argue that such admixture can have contributed significantly to the colonizing success of Wild boar, as the incorporation of genetic information from other species can have provided a genetic basis for adaptation to local environments encountered during colonization. The paper is a well-written and exciting example of how new genomic information can be used to infer evolutionary histories of species, and moreover to address the role that admixture plays in successful colonization. The jury was impressed by the comprehensive population genomic analyses, which produced clear results. These results have broad impact on the question what makes some species successful colonizers, which is a question that is relevant in many taxa.”
Prof. Paulien Hogeweg, Prof. Sander Tans and Dr. Koen Verhoeven
Jury of the Netherlands Evolutionary Biology prize