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BMC Evol Biol [journal]
- Importance of plasticity and local adaptation for coping with changing salinity in coastal areas: a test case with barnacles in the Baltic Sea. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 19; 14(1):156.
Salinity plays an important role in shaping coastal marine communities. Near-future climate predictions indicate that salinity will decrease in many shallow coastal areas due to increased precipitation; however, few studies have addressed this issue. The ability of ecosystems to cope with future changes will depend on species' capacities to acclimatise or adapt to new environmental conditions. Here, we investigated the effects of a strong salinity gradient (the Baltic Sea system - Baltic, Kattegat, Skagerrak) on plasticity and adaptations in the euryhaline barnacle Balanus improvisus. We used a common-garden approach, where multiple batches of newly settled barnacles from each of three different geographical areas along the Skagerrak-Baltic salinity gradient were exposed to corresponding native salinities (6, 15 and 30 PSU), and phenotypic traits including mortality, growth, shell strength, condition index and reproductive maturity were recorded.We found that B. improvisus was highly euryhaline, but had highest growth and reproductive maturity at intermediate salinities. We also found that low salinity had negative effects on other fitness-related traits including initial growth and shell strength, although mortality was also lowest in low salinity. Overall, differences between populations in most measured traits were weak, indicating little local adaptation to salinity. Nonetheless, we observed some population-specific responses - notably that populations from high salinity grew stronger shells in their native salinity compared to the other populations, possibly indicating adaptation to differences in local predation pressure.Our study shows that B. improvisus is an example of a true brackish-water species, and that plastic responses are more likely than evolutionary tracking in coping with future changes in coastal salinity.
- The mysterious Spotted Green Pigeon and its relation to the Dodo and its kindred. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014.:136.
The closely related and extinct Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and Rodrigues Solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria), both in the subfamily Raphinae, are members of a clade of morphologically very diverse pigeons. Genetic analyses have revealed that the Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) is the closest living relative of these birds, thereby highlighting their ancestors' remarkable migration and morphological evolution. The Spotted Green Pigeon (Caloenas maculata) was described in 1783 and showed some similarities to the Nicobar Pigeon. Soon however the taxon fell into obscurity, as it was regarded as simply an abnormal form of the Nicobar Pigeon. The relationship between both taxa has occasionally been questioned, leading some ornithologists to suggest that the two may in fact be different taxa. Today only one of the original two specimens survives and nothing is known about the origin of the taxon. Due to its potential close relationship, the Spotted Green Pigeon may hold clues to the historical migration, isolation and morphological evolution of the Dodo and its kindred.We use ancient DNA methodologies to investigate the phylogeny and authenticity of the Spotted Green Pigeon. A novel extraction method with the ability to retain and purify heavily fragmented DNA is used to investigate two feathers from the sole surviving specimen. Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic analyses reveal that the Spotted Green Pigeon is a unique lineage and together with the Nicobar Pigeon, is basal to the Dodo and Rodrigues Solitaire.The distance observed for the Spotted Green Pigeon and Nicobar Pigeon is larger than that observed within other Pigeon species, indicating that the Spotted Green pigeon is a unique taxon, thereby also indicating it is a genuine addition to the list of extinct species. The phylogenetic placement of the Spotted Green Pigeon indicates that the ancestors of both Caloenas and therefore Raphinae displayed and shared the following traits: ability of flight, semi-terrestrial habits and an affinity towards islands. This set of traits supports the stepping stone hypothesis, which states that the Raphinae got to their respective localities by island hopping from India or Southeast Asia.
- Molecular evidence for convergent evolution and allopolyploid speciation within the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 11; 14(1):158.
The moss Physcomitrella patens (Hedw.) Bruch & Schimp. is an important experimental model system for evolutionary-developmental studies. In order to shed light on the evolutionary history of Physcomitrella and related species within the Funariaceae, we analyzed the natural genetic diversity of the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex.Molecular analysis of the nuclear single copy gene BRK1 reveals that three Physcomitrium species feature larger genome sizes than Physcomitrella patens and encode two expressed BRK1 homeologs (polyploidization-derived paralogs), indicating that they may be allopolyploid hybrids. Phylogenetic analyses of BRK1 as well as microsatellite simple sequence repeat (SSR) data confirm a polyphyletic origin for three Physcomitrella lineages. Differences in the conservation of mitochondrial editing sites further support hybridization and cryptic speciation within the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex.We propose a revised classification of the previously described four subspecies of Physcomitrella patens into three distinct species, namely Physcomitrella patens, Physcomitrella readeri and Physcomitrella magdalenae. We argue that secondary reduction of sporophyte complexity in these species is due to the establishment of an ecological niche, namely spores resting in mud and possible spore dispersal by migratory birds. Besides the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex, the Funariaceae are host to their type species, Funaria hygrometrica, featuring a sporophyte morphology which is more complex. Their considerable developmental variation among closely related lineages and remarkable trait evolution render the Funariaceae an interesting group for evolutionary and genetic research.
- Rapid evolution of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in humans and other primates. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 11; 14(1):155.
The maintenance of chromosomal integrity is an essential task of every living organism and cellular repair mechanisms exist to guard against insults to DNA. Given the importance of this process, it is expected that DNA repair proteins would be evolutionarily conserved, exhibiting very minimal sequence change over time. However, BRCA1, an essential gene involved in DNA repair, has been reported to be evolving rapidly despite the fact that many protein-altering mutations within this gene convey a significantly elevated risk for breast and ovarian cancers.To obtain a deeper understanding of the evolutionary trajectory of BRCA1, we analyzed complete BRCA1 gene sequences from 23 primate species. We show that specific amino acid sites have experienced repeated selection for amino acid replacement over primate evolution. This selection has been focused specifically on humans and our closest living relatives, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus). After examining BRCA1 polymorphisms in 7 bonobo, 44 chimpanzee, and 44 rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) individuals, we find considerable variation within each of these species and evidence for recent selection in chimpanzee populations. Finally, we also sequenced and analyzed BRCA2 from 24 primate species and find that this gene has also evolved under positive selection.While mutations leading to truncated forms of BRCA1 are clearly linked to cancer phenotypes in humans, there is also an underlying selective pressure in favor of amino acid-altering substitutions in this gene. A hypothesis where viruses are the drivers of this natural selection is discussed.
- Differential introgression among loci across a hybrid zone of the intermediate horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus affinis). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 9; 14(1):154.
Hybrid zones formed by the secondary contact of divergent lineages represent natural laboratories for studying the genetic basis of speciation. Here we tested for patterns of differential introgression among three X-linked and 11 autosomal regions to identify candidate loci related to either reproductive isolation or adaptive introgression across a hybrid zone between two Chinese mainland subspecies of the intermediate horseshoe bat Rhinolophus affinis: R. a. himalayanus and R. a. macrurus.Our results support the previous suggestion that macrurus formed when a third subspecies (R. a. hainanus) recolonized the mainland from Hainan Island, and that himalayanus is the ancestral taxon. However, this overall evolutionary history was not reflected in all loci examined, with considerable locus-wise heterogeneity seen in gene tree topologies, levels of polymorphism, genetic differentiation and rates of introgression. Coalescent simulations suggested levels of lineage mixing seen at some nuclear loci might result from incomplete lineage sorting. Isolation with migration models supported evidence of gene flow across the hybrid zone at one intronic marker of the hearing gene Prestin.We suggest that phylogenetic discordance with respect to the species tree seen here is likely to arise via a combination of incomplete lineage sorting and a low incidence of introgression although we cannot rule out other explanations such as selection and recombination. Two X-linked loci and one autosomal locus were identified as candidate regions related to reproductive isolation across the hybrid zone. Our work highlights the importance of including multiple genomic regions in characterizing patterns of divergence and gene flow across a hybrid zone.
- Mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenetic analysis with Sanger and next-generation sequencing shows that, in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, northwestern Costa Rica, the skipper butterfly named Urbanus belli (family Hesperiidae) comprises three morphologically cryptic species. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 9; 14(1):153.
Skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae) are a relatively well-studied family of Lepidoptera. However, a combination of DNA barcodes, morphology, and natural history data has revealed several cryptic species complexes within them. Here, we investigate three DNA barcode lineages of what has been identified as Urbanus belli (Hesperiidae, Eudaminae) in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica.Although no morphological traits appear to distinguish among the three, congruent nuclear and mitochondrial lineage patterns show that "Urbanus belli" in ACG is a complex of three sympatric species. A single strain of Wolbachia present in two of the three cryptic species indicates that Urbanus segnestami Burns (formerly Urbanus belliDHJ01), Urbanus bernikerni Burns (formerly Urbanus belliDHJ02), and Urbanus ehakernae Burns (formerly Urbanus belliDHJ03) may be biologically separated by Wolbachia, as well as by their genetics. Use of parallel sequencing through 454-pyrosequencing improved the utility of ITS2 as a phylogenetic marker and permitted examination of the intra- and interlineage relationships of ITS2 variants within the species complex. Interlineage, intralineage and intragenomic compensatory base pair changes were discovered in the secondary structure of ITS2.These findings corroborate the existence of three cryptic species. Our confirmation of a novel cryptic species complex, initially suggested by DNA barcode lineages, argues for using a multi-marker approach coupled with next-generation sequencing for exploration of other suspected species complexes.
- Systematic and historical biogeography of the Bryconidae (Ostariophysi: Characiformes) suggesting a new rearrangement of its genera and an old origin of Mesoamerican ichthyofauna. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 8; 14(1):152.
Recent molecular hypotheses suggest that some traditional suprageneric taxa of Characiformes require revision, as they may not constitute monophyletic groups. This is the case for the Bryconidae. Various studies have proposed that this family (considered a subfamily by some authors) may be composed of different genera. However, until now, no phylogenetic study of all putative genera has been conducted.In the present study, we analyzed 27 species (46 specimens) of all currently recognized genera of the Bryconidae (ingroup) and 208 species representing all other families and most genera of the Characiformes (outgroup). Five genes were sequenced: 16SrRNA, Cytochrome b, recombination activating gene 1 and 2 and myosin heavy chain 6 cardiac muscle. The final matrix contained 4699 bp and was analyzed by maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian analyses. The results show that the Bryconidae, composed of Brycon, Chilobrycon, Henochilus and Salminus, is monophyletic and is the sister group of Gasteropelecidae + Triportheidae. However, the genus Brycon is polyphyletic. Fossil studies suggest that the family originated approximately 47 million years ago (Ma) and that one of the two main lineages persisted only in trans-Andean rivers, including Central American rivers, suggesting a much older origin of Mesoamerican ichthyofauna than previously accepted.Bryconidae is composed by five main clades, including the genera Brycon, Chilobrycon, Henochilus and Salminus, but a taxonomic review of these groups is needed. Our results point to a possible ancient invasion of Central America, dating about 20.3 +/- 5.0 Ma (late Oligocene - early Miocene), to explain the occurrence of Brycon in Central America.
- Thirteen Camellia chloroplast genome sequences determined by high-throughput sequencing: genome structure and phylogenetic relationships. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 7; 14(1):151.
Camellia is an economically and phylogenetically important genus in the family Theaceae. Owing to numerous hybridization and polyploidization, it is taxonomically and phylogenetically ranked as one of the most challengingly difficult taxa in plants. Sequence comparisons of chloroplast (cp) genomes are of great interest to provide a robust evidence for taxonomic studies, species identification and understanding mechanisms that underlie the evolution of the Camellia species.The eight complete cp genomes and five draft cp genome sequences of Camellia species were determined using Illumina sequencing technology via a combined strategy of de novo and reference-guided assembly. The Camellia cp genomes exhibited typical circular structure that was rather conserved in genomic structure and the synteny of gene order. Differences of repeat sequences, simple sequence repeats, indels and substitutions were further examined among five complete cp genomes, representing a wide phylogenetic diversity in the genus. A total of fifteen molecular markers were identified with more than 1.5% sequence divergence that may be useful for further phylogenetic analysis and species identification of Camellia. Our results showed that, rather than functional constrains, it is the regional constraints that strongly affect sequence evolution of the cp genomes. In a substantial improvement over prior studies, evolutionary relationships of the section Thea were determined on basis of phylogenomic analyses of cp genome sequences.Despite a high degree of conservation between the Camellia cp genomes, sequence variation among species could still be detected, representing a wide phylogenetic diversity in the genus. Furthermore, phylogenomic analysis was conducted using 18 complete cp genomes and 5 draft cp genome sequences of Camellia species. Our results support Chang's taxonomical treatment that C. pubicosta may be classified into sect. Thea, showing that taxonomical value of the number of ovaries should be reconsidered when classifying the Camellia species. The availability of these cp genomes provides valuable genetic information for accurately identifying species, clarifying taxonomy and reconstructing the phylogeny of the genus Camellia.
- An Improved Approximate-Bayesian Model-choice Method for Estimating Shared Evolutionary History. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 3; 14(1):150.
To understand the processes that generate biodiversity, it is important to account for large-scale processes that affect the evolutionary history of groups of co-distributed populations of organisms. Such events predict temporally clustered divergences times, a pattern that can be estimated using genetic data from co-distributed species. I introduce a new approximate-Bayesian method for comparative phylogeographical model-choice that estimates the temporal distribution of divergences across taxa from multi-locus DNA sequence data. The model is an extension of that implemented in msBayes.By reparameterizing the model, introducing more flexible priors on demographic and divergence-time parameters, and implementing a non-parametric Dirichlet-process prior over divergence models, I improved the robustness, accuracy, and power of the method for estimating shared evolutionary history across taxa.The results demonstrate the improved performance of the new method is due to (1) more appropriate priors on divergence-time and demographic parameters that avoid prohibitively small marginal likelihoods for models with more divergence events, and (2) the Dirichlet-process providing a flexible prior on divergence histories that does not strongly disfavor models with intermediate numbers of divergence events. The new method yields more robust estimates of posterior uncertainty, and thus greatly reduces the tendency of the model to incorrectly estimate models of shared evolutionary history with strong support.
- Allopolyploidy and the evolution of plant virus resistance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Evol Biol 2014 Jul 3; 14(1):149.
The relationship between allopolyploidy and plant virus resistance is poorly understood. To determine the relationship of plant evolutionary history and basal virus resistance, a panel of Nicotiana species from diverse geographic regions and ploidy levels was assessed for resistance to non-coevolved viruses from the genus Nepovirus, family Secoviridae. The heritability of resistance was tested in a panel of synthetic allopolyploids. Leaves of different positions on each inoculated plant were tested for virus presence and a subset of plants was re-inoculated and assessed for systemic recovery.Depending on the host-virus combination, plants displayed immunity, susceptibility or intermediate levels of resistance. Synthetic allopolyploids showed an incompletely dominant resistance phenotype and manifested systemic recovery. Plant ploidy was weakly negatively correlated with virus resistance in Nicotiana species, but this trend did not hold when synthetic allopolyploids were taken into account. Furthermore, a relationship between resistance and geographical origin was observed.The gradients of resistance and virulence corresponded to a modified matching allele model of resistance. Intermediate resistance responses of allopolyploids corresponded with a model of multi-allelic additive resistance. The variable virus resistance of extant allopolyploids suggested that selection-based mechanisms surpass ploidy with respect to evolution of basal resistance to viruses.