Genomic data used for cockroach evolution history

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In Japan, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and Australia-based University of Sydney have traced key evolutionary time points of the cockroach back 300 million years ago using genomic information. They used mitochondrial genomes of 119 cockroach species to estimate divergence times of all living cockroach families. Their estimates indicate that the last common ancestor for cockroaches appeared much earlier than fossil evidence, around 235 million years ago, according to Phys.

Dr. Thomas Bourguignon, author of the study and professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, told Phys, “Our results indicate that extant cockroach families have evolved over periods of up to ~180 million years. Through reconstructions of the ancestral distribution of cockroaches using the known distributions of extant genera sampled in this study, we found evidence that continental breakup has had important impacts on cockroach biogeography.”