School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, E1 4NS, UK.
Large discrepancies have been found in dates of evolutionary events obtained using the molecular clock. Twofold differences have been reported between the dates estimated from molecular data and those from the fossil record; furthermore, different molecular methods can give dates that differ 20-fold. New software attempts to incorporate appropriate allowances for this uncertainty into the calculation of the accuracy of date estimates. Here, we propose that these innovations represent welcome progress towards obtaining reliable dates from the molecular clock, but warn that they are currently unproven, given that the causes and pattern of the discrepancies are the subject of ongoing research. This research implies that many previous studies, even some of those using recently developed methods, might have placed too much confidence in their date estimates, and their conclusions might need to be revised.
PLoS One. 2012 ;7 (3):e33986 22470505
Loss of genetic diversity means loss of geological information: the endangered Japanese crayfish exhibits remarkable historical footprints.
Creative Research Institution, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
Intra-specific genetic diversity is important not only because it influences population persistence and evolutionary potential, but also because it contains past geological, climatic and environmental information. In this paper, we show unusually clear genetic structure of the endangered Japanese crayfish that, as a sedentary species, provides many insights into lesser-known past environments in northern Japan. Over the native range, most populations consisted of unique 16S mtDNA haplotypes, resulting in significant genetic divergence (overall F(ST) = 0.96). Owing to the simple and clear structure, a new graphic approach unraveled a detailed evolutionary history; regional crayfish populations were comprised of two distinct lineages that had experienced contrasting demographic processes (i.e. rapid expansion vs. slow stepwise range expansion) following differential drainage topologies and past climate events. Nuclear DNA sequences also showed deep separation between the lineages. Current ocean barriers to dispersal did not significantly affect the genetic structure of the freshwater crayfish, indicating the formation of relatively recent land bridges. This study provides one of the best examples of how phylogeographic analysis can unravel a detailed evolutionary history of a species and how this history contributes to the understanding of the past environment in the region. Ongoing local extinctions of the crayfish lead not only to loss of biodiversity but also to the loss of a significant information regarding past geological and climatic events.
Daniel T Ksepka, Michael J Benton, Matthew T Carrano, Maria A Gandolfo, Jason J Head, Elizabeth J Hermsen, Walter G Joyce, Kristin S Lamm, José S L Patané, Matthew J Phillips, P David Polly, Marcel Van Tuinen, Jessica L Ware, Rachel C M Warnock, James F Parham
Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University,, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3-6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch.
Effects of Pleistocene glaciations and rivers on the population structure of Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus).
Natasha Arora, Alexander Nater, Carel P van Schaik, Erik P Willems, Maria A van Noordwijk, Benoit Goossens, Nadja Morf, Meredith Bastian, Cheryl Knott, Helen Morrogh-Bernard, Noko Kuze, Tomoko Kanamori, Joko Pamungkas, Dyah Perwitasari-Farajallah, Ernst Verschoor, Kristin Warren, Michael Krützen
Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland. email@example.com
Sundaland, a tropical hotspot of biodiversity comprising Borneo and Sumatra among other islands, the Malay Peninsula, and a shallow sea, has been subject to dramatic environmental processes. Thus, it presents an ideal opportunity to investigate the role of environmental mechanisms in shaping species distribution and diversity. We investigated the population structure and underlying mechanisms of an insular endemic, the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Phylogenetic reconstructions based on mtDNA sequences from 211 wild orangutans covering the entire range of the species indicate an unexpectedly recent common ancestor of Bornean orangutans 176 ka (95% highest posterior density, 72-322 ka), pointing to a Pleistocene refugium. High mtDNA differentiation among populations and rare haplotype sharing is consistent with a pattern of strong female philopatry. This is corroborated by isolation by distance tests, which show a significant correlation between mtDNA divergence and distance and a strong effect of rivers as barriers for female movement. Both frequency-based and Bayesian clustering analyses using as many as 25 nuclear microsatellite loci revealed a significant separation among all populations, as well as a small degree of male-mediated gene flow. This study highlights the unique effects of environmental and biological features on the evolutionary history of Bornean orangutans, a highly endangered species particularly vulnerable to future climate and anthropogenic change as an insular endemic.
Parasit Vectors. 2010 ;3 :57 20602771
Liang Liu, Mohammed Mh Mondal, Mohamed A Idris, Hakim S Lokman, Prv Jayanthe Rajapakse, Fadjar Satrija, Jose L Diaz, E Suchart Upatham, Stephen W Attwood
State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, West China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evolutionary history of the Lake Tanganyika cichlid tribe Lamprologini (Teleostei: Perciformes) derived from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data.
Department of Zoology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria. Christian.Sturmbauer@uni-graz.at
Lake Tanganyika comprises a cichlid species flock with substrate-breeding and mouthbrooding lineages. While sexual selection via mate choice on male mating color is thought to boost speciation rates in mouthbrooding cichlids, this is not the case in substrate-breeding lamprologines, which mostly form stable pairs and lack sexual dichromatism. We present a comprehensive reconstruction of the evolution of the cichlid tribe Lamprologini, based upon mtDNA sequences and multilocus nuclear DNA (AFLP) markers. Twelve mtDNA clades were identified, seven of which were corroborated by the AFLP tree. The radiation is likely to have started about 5.3 MYA, contemporarily with that of the mouthbrooding C-lineage, and probably triggered by the onset of deep-water conditions in Lake Tanganyika. Neither the Congo- nor the Malagarazi River species form the most ancestral branch. Several conflicts in the mtDNA phylogeny with taxonomic assignments based upon color, eco-morphology and behavior could be resolved and complemented by the AFLP analysis. Introgressive hybridization upon secondary contact seems to be the most likely cause for paraphyly of taxa due to mtDNA capture in species involving brood-care helpers, while accidental hybridization best explains the para- or polyphyly of several gastropod shell breeders. Taxonomic error or paraphyly due to the survival of ancestral lineages appear responsible for inconsistencies in the genera Lamprologus and Neolamprologus.
Reassessing the temporal evolution of orchids with new fossils and a Bayesian relaxed clock, with implications for the diversification of the rare South American genus Hoffmannseggella (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae).
Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Carl Skottsbergs gata 22A, 413 19 Göteborg, Sweden.
BMC Evol Biol. 2010 ;10 :123 20433736
Gene duplication and the origins of morphological complexity in pancrustacean eyes, a genomic approach.
Ajna S Rivera, M Sabrina Pankey, David C Plachetzki, Carlos Villacorta, Anna E Syme, Jeanne M Serb, Angela R Omilian, Todd H Oakley
University of California Santa Barbara, 93106, USA.
Darmstadt University of Technology, Institute of Zoology, Darmstadt, Germany. email@example.com
Terrestrial fossils that document the early colonization of land are scarce for >100 my after the Cambrian explosion. This raises the question whether life on land did not exist or just did not fossilize. With a molecular dating technique, we analyzed the origin of terrestrial chelicerate microarthropods (Acari, Oribatida) which have a fossil record since the Middle Devonian that is exceptional among soil animals. Our results suggest that oribatid mites originated in the Precambrian (571+/-37 mya) and that the radiation of basal groups coincides with the gap in the terrestrial fossil record between the Cambrian explosion and the earliest fossilized records of continental ecosystems. Further, they suggest that the colonization of land started via the interstitial, approximately 150 my earlier than the oldest fossils of terrestrial ecosystems. Overall, the results imply that omnivorous and detritivorous arthropods formed a major component in early terrestrial food webs, thereby facilitating the invasion of terrestrial habitats by later colonizers of higher trophic levels.
ELUCIDATION OF CRYPTIC DIVERSITY IN A WIDESPREAD NEARCTIC TREEFROG REVEALS EPISODES OF MITOCHONDRIAL GENE CAPTURE AS FROGS DIVERSIFIED ACROSS A DYNAMIC LANDSCAPE.
School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-4004.
ABSTRACT We investigate the evolutionary history of the wide-ranging Nearctic treefrog Hyla arenicolor through the integration of extensive range-wide sampling, phylogenetic analyses of multilocus genetic data, and divergence dating. Previous phylogeographic studies of this frog documented a potential signature of introgressive hybridization from an ecologically and morphologically divergent sister species. Based on our Bayesian phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA, we inferred strong phylogeographic structure in H. arenicolor as indicated by seven well-supported clades, five of which correspond to well-defined biogeographic regions. Clades from the Balsas Basin and southwestern Central Mexican Plateau in Mexico, and the Grand Canyon of Arizona, group with the morphologically, behaviorally, and ecologically divergent mountain treefrogs in the H. eximia group, rendering H. arenicolor as paraphyletic. The phylogenetic position of at least two of these three H. arenicolor clades within the H. eximia group, however, is most likely the result of several episodes of introgressive hybridization and subsequent mitochondrial gene capture separated in time and space, as supported by evidence from the nuclear genes. Hyla arenicolor from the Balsas Basin appear to be deeply divergent from other H. arenicolor and represent a distinctly different species. Results suggests that introgressive hybridization events, both ancient and contemporary, coupled with late Neogene vicariance and Pleistocene climate-driven range shifts, have all played a role in the historical diversification of H. arenicolor.
Rapid evolution and selection inferred from the transcriptomes of sympatric crater lake cichlid fishes.
Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany.
Crater lakes provide a natural laboratory to study speciation of cichlid fishes by ecological divergence. Up to now, there has been a dearth of transcriptomic and genomic information that would aid in understanding the molecular basis of the phenotypic differentiation between young species. We used next-generation sequencing (Roche 454 massively parallel pyrosequencing) to characterize the diversity of expressed sequence tags between ecologically divergent, endemic and sympatric species of cichlid fishes from crater lake Apoyo, Nicaragua: benthic Amphilophus astorquii and limnetic Amphilophus zaliosus. We obtained 24 174 A. astorquii and 21 382 A. zaliosus high-quality expressed sequence tag contigs, of which 13 106 pairs are orthologous between species. Based on the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions, we identified six sequences exhibiting signals of strong diversifying selection (K(a)/K(s)> 1). These included genes involved in biosynthesis, metabolic processes and development. This transcriptome sequence variation may be reflective of natural selection acting on the genomes of these young, sympatric sister species. Based on Ks ratios and p-distances between 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs) calibrated to previously published species divergence times, we estimated a neutral transcriptome-wide substitutional mutation rate of approximately 1.25 x 10(-6) per site per year. We conclude that next-generation sequencing technologies allow us to infer natural selection acting to diversify the genomes of young species, such as crater lake cichlids, with much greater scope than previously possible.
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PLoS One. 2012 ;7 (5):e36963 22606317
Independent, rapid and targeted loss of highly repetitive DNA in natural and synthetic allopolyploids of Nicotiana tabacum.
Simon Renny-Byfield, Ales Kovařík, Michael Chester, Richard A Nichols, Jiri Macas, Petr Novák, Andrew R Leitch
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.
Allopolyploidy (interspecific hybridisation and polyploidy) has played a significant role in the evolutionary history of angiosperms and can result in genomic, epigenetic and transcriptomic perturbations. We examine the immediate effects of allopolyploidy on repetitive DNA by comparing the genomes of synthetic and natural Nicotiana tabacum with diploid progenitors N. tomentosiformis (paternal progenitor) and N. sylvestris (maternal progenitor). Using next generation sequencing, a recently developed graph-based repeat identification pipeline, Southern blot and fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) we characterise two highly repetitive DNA sequences (NicCL3 and NicCL7/30). Analysis of two independent high-throughput DNA sequencing datasets indicates NicCL3 forms 1.6-1.9% of the genome in N. tomentosiformis, sequences that occur in multiple, discontinuous tandem arrays scattered over several chromosomes. Abundance estimates, based on sequencing depth, indicate NicCL3 is almost absent in N. sylvestris and has been dramatically reduced in copy number in the allopolyploid N. tabacum. Surprisingly elimination of NicCL3 is repeated in some synthetic lines of N. tabacum in their forth generation. The retroelement NicCL7/30, which occurs interspersed with NicCL3, is also under-represented but to a much lesser degree, revealing targeted elimination of the latter. Analysis of paired-end sequencing data indicates the tandem component of NicCL3 has been preferentially removed in natural N. tabacum, increasing the proportion of the dispersed component. This occurs across multiple blocks of discontinuous repeats and based on the distribution of nucleotide similarity among NicCL3 units, was concurrent with rounds of sequence homogenisation.
BMC Evol Biol. 2011 ;11 :227 21801361
Louise J Johnson, James A Cotton, Conrad P Lichtenstein, Greg S Elgar, Richard A Nichols, P David Polly, Steven C Le Comber
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK.
BACKGROUND Efficient gene expression involves a trade-off between (i) premature termination of protein synthesis; and (ii) readthrough, where the ribosome fails to dissociate at the terminal stop. Sense codons that are similar in sequence to stop codons are more susceptible to nonsense mutation, and are also likely to be more susceptible to transcriptional or translational errors causing premature termination. We therefore expect this trade-off to be influenced by the number of stop codons in the genetic code. Although genetic codes are highly constrained, stop codon number appears to be their most volatile feature. RESULTS In the human genome, codons readily mutable to stops are underrepresented in coding sequences. We construct a simple mathematical model based on the relative likelihoods of premature termination and readthrough. When readthrough occurs, the resultant protein has a tail of amino acid residues incorrectly added to the C-terminus. Our results depend strongly on the number of stop codons in the genetic code. When the code has more stop codons, premature termination is relatively more likely, particularly for longer genes. When the code has fewer stop codons, the length of the tail added by readthrough will, on average, be longer, and thus more deleterious. Comparative analysis of taxa with a range of stop codon numbers suggests that genomes whose code includes more stop codons have shorter coding sequences. CONCLUSIONS We suggest that the differing trade-offs presented by alternative genetic codes may result in differences in genome structure. More speculatively, multiple stop codons may mitigate readthrough, counteracting the disadvantage of a higher rate of nonsense mutation. This could help explain the puzzling overrepresentation of stop codons in the canonical genetic code and most variants.
Mol Ecol. 2011 Aug ;20 (15):3156-66 21736655
Predictions of single-nucleotide polymorphism differentiation between two populations in terms of mutual information.
Division of Plant Sciences, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mutual information (I) provides a robust measure of genetic differentiation for the purposes of estimating dispersal between populations. At present, however, there is little predictive theory for I. The growing importance in population biology of analyses of single-nucleotide and other single-feature polymorphisms (SFPs) is a potent reason for developing an analytic theory for I with respect to a single locus. This study represents a first step towards such a theory. We present theoretical predictions of I between two populations with respect to a single haploid biallelic locus. Dynamical and steady-state forecasts of I are derived from a Wright-Fisher model with symmetrical mutation between alleles and symmetrical dispersal between populations. Analytical predictions of a simple Taylor approximation to I are in good agreement with numerical simulations of I and with data on I from SFP analyses of dispersal experiments on Drosophila fly populations. The theory presented here also provides a basis for the future inclusion of selection effects and extension to multiallelic loci.
Phylogenetic relationships in Pterodroma petrels are obscured by recent secondary contact and hybridization.
Ruth M Brown, William C Jordan, Chris G Faulkes, Carl G Jones, Leandro Bugoni, Vikash Tatayah, Ricardo L Palma, Richard A Nichols
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, United Kingdom. email@example.com
The classification of petrels (Pterodroma spp.) from Round Island, near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, has confounded researchers since their discovery in 1948. In this study we investigate the relationships between Round Island petrels and their closest relatives using evidence from mitochondrial DNA sequence data and ectoparasites. Far from providing clear delimitation of species boundaries, our results reveal that hybridization among species on Round Island has led to genetic leakage between populations from different ocean basins. The most common species on the island, Pterodroma arminjoniana, appears to be hybridizing with two rarer species (P. heraldica and P. neglecta), subverting the reproductive isolation of all three and allowing gene flow. P. heraldica and P. neglecta breed sympatrically in the Pacific Ocean, where P. arminjoniana is absent, but no record of hybridization between these two exists and they remain phenotypically distinct. The breakdown of species boundaries in Round Island petrels followed environmental change (deforestation and changes in species composition due to hunting) within their overlapping ranges. Such multi-species interactions have implications not only for conservation, but also for our understanding of the processes of evolutionary diversification and speciation.
Household size is critical to varicella-zoster virus transmission in the tropics despite lower viral infectivity.
Richard A Nichols, Karin T Averbeck, Anja G Poulsen, Mahmoud M al Bassam, Fernando Cabral, Peter Aaby, Judith Breuer
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, UK.
The epidemiology and severity of infections can vary dramatically in different geographical regions. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a particularly tractable model for investigating such global differences, since infections can be unambiguously identified. VZV is spread by aerosol to cause chickenpox, which, in temperate countries, is a relatively benign childhood infection; yet in tropical countries it tends to occur at later age, a trend associated with markedly increased severity including complications, hospitalization, and overall burden of care. To investigate global differences in the epidemiology of chickenpox we studied a population in Guinea Bissau, which in contrast to other tropical countries has an unexpectedly early age of infection with VZV, comparable to temperate latitudes. In this study we used detailed records from over 3000 houses during an outbreak of chickenpox, combined with viral genetic information on routes of infection, to obtain precise estimates of disease transmission within and between houses. This community contains many large households in which different families live under a single roof, in living quarters divided by partitions. Our data show that household infectivity in tropical Guinea Bissau is reduced four-fold compared with temperate climates (14.8% versus 61-85%), with an intermediate rate between members of the same family who are in more intimate contact (23.5%). All else being equal, these lower infection rates would be expected to lead to a later age of infection as is commonly seen in other tropical countries. The young age of infection, which had drawn our attention to the Guinea Bissau population, can however be explained by the exceptionally large household sizes (mean 14.5 people). We have combined genetic and demographic data to show that the epidemiology of chickenpox in tropical Guinea Bissau is dependent on the interaction of the social and physical environments. The distinctive clinical presentation of VZV and its ubiquitous distribution make it an attractive model for estimating the variables that contribute to global differences in the transmission of airborne viruses.
Range expansion and hybridization in Round Island petrels (Pterodroma spp.): evidence from microsatellite genotypes.
Ruth M Brown, Richard A Nichols, Chris G Faulkes, Carl G Jones, Leandro Bugoni, Vikash Tatayah, Dada Gottelli, William C Jordan
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
Historical records suggest that the petrels of Round Island (near Mauritius, Indian Ocean) represent a recent, long-distance colonization by species originating from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The majority of petrels on Round Island appear most similar to Pterodroma arminjoniana, a species whose only other breeding locality is Trindade Island in the South Atlantic. Using nine microsatellite loci, patterns of genetic differentiation in petrels from Round and Trindade Islands were analysed. The two populations exhibit low but significant levels of differentiation in allele frequencies and estimates of migration rate between islands using genetic data are also low, supporting the hypothesis that these populations have recently separated but are now isolated from one another. A second population of petrels, most similar in appearance to the Pacific species P. neglecta, is also present on Round Island and observations suggest that the two petrel species are hybridizing. Vocalizations recorded on the island also suggest that hybrid birds may be present within the population. Data from microsatellite genotypes support this hypothesis and indicate that there may have been many generations of hybridization and back-crossing between P. arminjoniana and P. neglecta on Round Island. Our results provide an insight into the processes of dispersal and the consequences of secondary contact in Procellariiformes.
Population genetic patterns suggest a behavioural change in wild common frogs (Rana temporaria) following disease outbreaks (Ranavirus).
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, UK. email@example.com
We use 14 microsatellite loci to investigate the impact of a viral disease (Ranavirus) on the population genetic structure of wild common frogs (Rana temporaria). Populations with a history of Ranavirus mortalities (and 83% declines in the number of frogs) were compared with populations with no history of infection. Infected ponds showed significantly elevated F(IS)(homozygote excess), significantly reduced relatedness, and no detectable effect on allelic richness. We hypothesize that the elevated F(IS) and reduced relatedness are consequences of assortative mating, and that allelic richness is maintained by immigration from nearby populations. Simulations indicate that the elevated F(IS) cannot be explained by population size reductions, but can indeed be explained by assortative mating (even if a mate choice locus is unlinked to the genetic markers). While the majority of studies consider demographic outcomes following disease outbreaks, our results indicate that emerging infectious diseases could also result in behavioural changes.
Evidence for directional selection at a novel major histocompatibility class I marker in wild common frogs (Rana temporaria) exposed to a viral pathogen (Ranavirus).
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom. firstname.lastname@example.org
Whilst the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is well characterized in the anuran Xenopus, this region has not previously been studied in another popular model species, the common frog (Rana temporaria). Nor, to date, have there been any studies of MHC in wild amphibian host-pathogen systems. We characterise an MHC class I locus in the common frog, and present primers to amplify both the whole region, and specifically the antigen binding region. As no more than two expressed haplotypes were found in over 400 clones from 66 individuals, it is likely that there is a single class I locus in this species. This finding is consistent with the single class I locus in Xenopus, but contrasts with the multiple loci identified in axolotls, providing evidence that the diversification of MHC class I into multiple loci likely occurred after the Caudata/Anura divergence (approximately 350 million years ago) but before the Ranidae/Pipidae divergence (approximately 230 mya). We use this locus to compare wild populations of common frogs that have been infected with a viral pathogen (Ranavirus) with those that have no history of infection. We demonstrate that certain MHC supertypes are associated with infection status (even after accounting for shared ancestry), and that the diseased populations have more similar supertype frequencies (lower F(ST)) than the uninfected. These patterns were not seen in a suite of putatively neutral microsatellite loci. We interpret this pattern at the MHC locus to indicate that the disease has imposed selection for particular haplotypes, and hence that common frogs may be adapting to the presence of Ranavirus, which currently kills tens of thousands of amphibians in the UK each year.
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.
A newly arisen Y-chromosome can become established in one part of a species range by genetic drift or through the effects of selection on sexually antagonistic alleles. However, it is difficult to explain why it should then spread throughout the species range after this initial episode. As it spreads into new populations, it will actually enter females. It would then be expected to perform poorly since it will have been shaped by the selective regime of the male-only environment from which it came. We address this problem using computer models of hybrid zone dynamics where a neo-XY chromosomal race meets the ancestral karyotype. Our models consider that the neo-Y was established by the fusion of an autosome with the ancestral X-chromosome (thereby creating the Y and the 'fused X'). Our principal finding is that sexually antagonistic effects of the Y induce indirect selection in favour of the fused X-chromosomes, causing their spread. The Y-chromosome can then spread, protected behind the advancing shield of the fused X distribution. This mode of spread provides a robust explanation of how newly arisen Y-chromosomes can spread. A Y-chromosome would be expected to accumulate mutations that would cause it to be selected against when it is a rare newly arrived migrant. The Y can spread, nevertheless, because of the indirect selection induced by gene flow (which can only be observed in models comprising multiple populations). These results suggest a fundamental re-evaluation of sex-chromosome hybrid zones. The well-understood evolutionary events that initiate the Y-chromosome's degeneration will actually fuel its range expansion.
The frequency of rDNA variants within individuals provides evidence of population history and gene flow across a grasshopper hybrid zone.
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom. email@example.com
In the grasshopper Podisma pedestris, units of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) multigene family are not identical, but comprise multiple genetic variants. We surveyed this variation using a novel pyrosequencing approach. The history of the study populations is well characterized as the pattern of colonization can be inferred from the distribution of two chromosomal races that invaded from different directions after the last glacial maximum and finally met to form a hybrid zone. This knowledge of the populations' ancestry allows us to draw inferences about the rate of change in rDNA composition. The rDNA data have, in turn, been revealing about the populations' ancestry, indicating a previously unsuspected route of postglacial colonization. The two chromosomal races were found to have genetically distinctive rDNA composition, demonstrating the persistence of differences for thousands of generations. It follows that the hybrid zone represents a natural experiment in which repeated crossing and backcrossing between these different rDNA lineages has occurred for over 8000 generations. The association between chromosomal race and rDNA composition has been broken down within the zone. It therefore appears that rDNA variants move freely across the zone and are not under opposing selection pressures in the two races, as had previously been suspected.
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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Efficient optimization of the basis set is key to achieving a very high accuracy in variational calculations of molecular systems employing basis functions that are explicitly dependent on the interelectron distances. In this work we present a method for a systematic enlargement of basis sets of explicitly correlated functions based on the iterative-complement-interaction approach developed by Nakatsuji [Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 030403 (2004)]. We illustrate the performance of the method in the variational calculations of H(3) where we use explicitly correlated Gaussian functions with shifted centers. The total variational energy (-1.674 547 421 Hartree) and the binding energy (-15.74 cm(-1)) obtained in the calculation with 1000 Gaussians are the most accurate results to date.
Integration of Bayesian molecular clock methods and fossil-based soft bounds reveals early Cenozoic origin of African lacertid lizards.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Although current molecular clock methods offer greater flexibility in modelling historical evolutionary events, calibration of the clock with dates from the fossil record is still problematic for many groups. Here we implement several new approaches in molecular dating to estimate evolutionary ages of Lacertidae, an Old World family of lizards with a poor fossil record and uncertain phylogeny. Four different models of rate variation are tested in a new program for Bayesian phylogenetic analysis called TreeTime, based on a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences. We incorporate paleontological uncertainty into divergence estimates by expressing multiple calibration dates as a range of probabilistic distributions. We also test the reliability of our proposed calibrations by exploring effects of individual priors on posterior estimates. RESULTS: According to the most reliable model, as indicated by Bayes factor comparison, modern lacertids arose shortly after the K/T transition and entered Africa about 45 million years ago, with the majority of their African radiation occurring in the Eocene and Oligocene. Our findings indicate much earlier origins for these clades than previously reported, and we discuss our results in light of paleogeographic trends during the Cenozoic. CONCLUSIONS: This study represents the first attempt to estimate evolutionary ages of a specific group of reptiles exhibiting uncertain phylogenetic relationships, molecular rate variation and a poor fossil record. Our results emphasize the sensitivity of molecular divergence dates to fossil calibrations, and support the use of combined molecular data sets and multiple, well-spaced dates from the fossil record as minimum node constraints. The bioinformatics program used here, TreeTime, is publicly available, and we recommend its use for molecular dating of taxa faced with similar challenges.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. email@example.com
Great strides have been made in understanding the evolutionary history of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and the zoonoses that gave rise to HIV-1 and HIV-2. What remains unknown is how long these SIVs had been circulating in non-human primates before the transmissions to humans. Here, we use relaxed molecular clock dating techniques to estimate the time of most recent common ancestor for the SIVs infecting chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys, the reservoirs of HIV-1 and HIV-2, respectively. The date of the most recent common ancestor of SIV in chimpanzees is estimated to be 1492 (1266-1685), and the date in sooty mangabeys is estimated to be 1809 (1729-1875). Notably, we demonstrate that SIV sequences sampled from sooty mangabeys possess sufficient clock-like signal to calibrate a molecular clock; despite the differences in host biology and viral dynamics, the rate of evolution of SIV in sooty mangabeys is indistinguishable from that of its human counterpart, HIV-2. We also estimate the ages of the HIV-2 human-to-human transmissible lineages and provide the first age estimate for HIV-1 group N at 1963 (1948-1977). Comparisons between the SIV most recent common ancestor dates and those of the HIV lineages suggest a difference on the order of only hundreds of years. Our results suggest either that SIV is a surprisingly young lentiviral lineage or that SIV and, perhaps, HIV dating estimates are seriously compromised by unaccounted-for biases.
Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity, Humboldt University Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 43, 10115, Berlin, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Divergence times inferred for major lineages of Chelicerata (scorpions, spiders, mites, pycnogonids and xiphosurans) in a recent paper on mitochondrial phylogeny by Jeyaprakash and Hoy are compared to the known stratigraphical occurrences of these groups. Erroneous statements concerning fossil date estimates in the original study are corrected. We emphasize that the fossil record of chelicerates is more complete than is sometimes assumed, and that paleontology plays a key role in dating cladogenesis by setting minimum divergence times, which can and do falsify molecular clock estimates where the inferred divergence is substantially younger than the known fossil record. The oldest representatives of each chelicerate order are documented here, together with similar data for the major mite lineages down to family level. Through these, we hope to provide a robust framework and reference points for future molecular systematic studies of this nature.
Scantek Inc., 7060 Oakland Mills Rd., Ste. L, Columbia, MD 21045, email@example.com.
This paper illustrates how the parameters of the tapping machine may influence the measurement accuracy when testing the impact sound insulation of floors. The analysis connects the specifications for tapping machines given in ISO 140-6 and ASTM E 492-4 standards with the requirements for repeatability and reproducibility of the sound insulation measurements given in ISO 140-2. The paper also discusses calibration and testability aspects for tapping machines and presents the method developed at Scantek for measuring the impact velocity of the hammers. The paper gives modeling equations, preliminary calculations for measurement uncertainties, and experimental results obtained at Scantek on calibrating the Norsonic tapping machine N-211.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The rate of nucleotide substitutions is not constant across the Tree of Life, and departures from a molecular clock have been commonly reported. Within parmelioid lichens, the largest group of macrolichens, large discrepancies in branch lengths between clades were found in previous studies. Using an extended taxon sampling, we test for presence of significant rate discrepancies within and between these clades and test our a priori hypothesis that such rate discrepancies may be explained by shifts in moisture regime or other environmental conditions. RESULTS: In this paper, the first statistical evidence for accelerated evolutionary rate in lichenized ascomycetes is presented. Our results give clear evidence for a faster rate of evolution in two Hypotrachyna clades that includes species occurring in tropical and oceanic habitats in comparison with clades consisting of species occurring in semi-arid and temperate habitats. Further we explore potential links between evolutionary rates and shifts in habitat by comparing alternative Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models. CONCLUSIONS: Although there was only weak support for a shift at the base of a second tropical clade, where the observed nucleotide substitution rate is high, overall support for a shift in environmental conditions at cladogenesis is very strong. This suggests that speciation in some lichen clades has proceeded by dispersal into a novel environment, followed by radiation within that environment. We found moderate support for a shift in moisture regime at the base of one tropical clade and a clade occurring in semi-arid regions and a shift in minimum temperature at the base of a boreal-temperate clade.
Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory Branch, G-10, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. JJorba@cdc.gov
We have calibrated five different molecular clocks for circulating poliovirus based upon the rates of fixation of total substitutions (K(t)), synonymous substitutions (K(s)), synonymous transitions (A(s)), synonymous transversions (B(s)), and nonsynonymous substitutions (K(a)) into the P1/capsid region (2,643 nucleotides). Rates were determined over a 10-year period by analysis of sequences of 31 wild poliovirus type 1 isolates representing a well-defined phylogeny derived from a common imported ancestor. Similar rates were obtained by linear regression, the maximum likelihood/single-rate dated-tip method, and Bayesian inference. The very rapid K(t)[(1.03 +/- 0.10) x 10(-2) substitutions/site/year] and K(s)[(1.00 +/- 0.08) x 10(-2)] clocks were driven primarily by the A(s) clock [(0.96 +/- 0.09) x 10(-2)], the B(s) clock was approximately 10-fold slower [(0.10 +/- 0.03) x 10(-2)], and the more stochastic K(a) clock was approximately 30-fold slower [(0.03 +/- 0.01) x 10(-2)]. Nonsynonymous substitutions at all P1/capsid sites, including the neutralizing antigenic sites, appeared to be constrained by purifying selection. Simulation of the evolution of third-codon positions suggested that saturation of synonymous transitions would be evident at 10 years and complete at approximately 65 years of independent transmission. Saturation of synonymous transversions was predicted to be minimal at 20 years and incomplete at 100 years. The rapid evolution of the K(t), K(s), and A(s) clocks can be used to estimate the dates of divergence of closely related viruses, whereas the slower B(s) and K(a) clocks may be used to explore deeper evolutionary relationships within and across poliovirus genotypes.
Divergence times in Caenorhabditis and Drosophila inferred from direct estimates of the neutral mutation rate.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution and Function, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Accurate inference of the dates of common ancestry among species forms a central problem in understanding the evolutionary history of organisms. Molecular estimates of divergence time rely on the molecular evolutionary prediction that neutral mutations and substitutions occur at the same constant rate in genomes of related species. This underlies the notion of a molecular clock. Most implementations of this idea depend on paleontological calibration to infer dates of common ancestry, but taxa with poor fossil records must rely on external, potentially inappropriate, calibration with distantly related species. The classic biological models Caenorhabditis and Drosophila are examples of such problem taxa. Here, I illustrate internal calibration in these groups with direct estimates of the mutation rate from contemporary populations that are corrected for interfering effects of selection on the assumption of neutrality of substitutions. Divergence times are inferred among 6 species each of Caenorhabditis and Drosophila, based on thousands of orthologous groups of genes. I propose that the 2 closest known species of Caenorhabditis shared a common ancestor <24 MYA (Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis sp. 5) and that Caenorhabditis elegans diverged from its closest known relatives <30 MYA, assuming that these species pass through at least 6 generations per year; these estimates are much more recent than reported previously with molecular clock calibrations from non-nematode phyla. Dates inferred for the common ancestor of Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans are roughly concordant with previous studies. These revised dates have important implications for rates of genome evolution and the origin of self-fertilization in Caenorhabditis.
In this paper, we investigate the standard Yule model, and a recently studied model of speciation and extinction, the "critical branching process." We develop an analytic way-as opposed to the common simulation approach-for calculating the speciation times in a reconstructed phylogenetic tree. Simple expressions for the density and the moments of the speciation times are obtained. Methods for dating a speciation event become valuable, if for the reconstructed phylogenetic trees, no time scale is available. A missing time scale could be due to supertree methods, morphological data, or molecular data which violates the molecular clock. Our analytic approach is, in particular, useful for the model with extinction, since simulations of birth-death processes which are conditioned on obtaining n extant species today are quite delicate. Further, simulations are very time consuming for big n under both models.
Department of Herpetology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California 94103, USA. email@example.com
We reassess a study on a fossil-calibrated molecular clock that provides a new method for evaluating the accuracy of calibration points. We address several pitfalls that molecular systematists should be aware of when calculating rates of molecular evolution based on fossil calibrations. These caveats involve the substantiation and accurate use of geologic dates, the inappropriate use of fixed calibration points, and the explicit and objective phylogenetic placement of fossil taxa. Paleontological data, like molecular data, should be treated with the utmost rigor.