Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (Mol Phylogenet Evol )

Publisher: Elsevier


Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution is dedicated to bringing Darwin's dream - to "have fairly true genealogical trees of each great kingdom of Nature" - within grasp. The journal provides a forum for molecular studies that advance our understanding of phylogeny and evolution. This journal plays an important role by publishing the results of molecular studies that identify the actual clades to which different species and higher taxa belong. Such knowledge will further the development of phylogenetically more accurate taxonomic classifications and ultimately lead to a unified classification for all the ramifying lines of life.

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    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution website
  • Other titles
    Molecular phylogenetics and evolution (Online), Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
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  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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Publications in this journal

  • Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The rapid development of innovative molecular tools for characterizing biodiversity is leading to an extensive and sometimes unexpected renovation of taxonomic classifications. Particularly, for species having allopatric or parapatric distributions or resulting from recent speciation processes, the absence of clear phenotypic differentiation may hinder the recognition of closely related taxa, while intraspecific polymorphism may be confused with the presence of more than one single species. In the present work, we apply different phylogenetic methods in order to infer relationships within the genus Anatololacerta, and to assess the taxonomy of this morphologically diversified group of lizards endemic to western and southern Anatolia and some neighbouring Aegean islands. According to morphology, three species have been recognized (Anatolocerta anatolica, A. oertzeni and A. danfordi) as well as several subspecies, but small variation at immunological markers led some authors to join all the populations into one single taxon, A. danfordi. By selecting both mitochondrial and nuclear informative markers, we tested the effectiveness of classical “gene tree” (i.e. Bayesian Inference) vs. innovative (i.e. coalescent-based) “species tree” methods in resolving the Anatololacerta taxonomic enigma, as a case in point for similar studies on species complexes resulting from non-obvious and cryptic diversification patterns. According to our results, the “gene tree” method failed in resolving phylogenetic relationships among clades, whereas the multi-locus “species tree” approach, coupled with species delimitation methods, allowed the identification of four well distinct species. These species probably diversified in different allopatric refugia located in southern and western Anatolia, where isolated populations may have persisted during Pleistocene glacial cycles.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The India-Asia collision profoundly influenced the climate, topography and biodiversity of Asia, causing the formation of the biodiverse Himalayas. The species-rich gekkonid genus Cyrtodactylus is an ideal clade for exploring the biological impacts of the India-Asia collision, as previous phylogenetic hypotheses suggest basal divergences occurred within the Himalayas and Indo-Burma during the Eocene. To this end, we sampled for Cyrtodactylus across Indian areas of the Himalayas and Indo-Burma Hostpots and used three genes to reconstruct relationships and estimate divergence times. Basal divergences in Cyrtodactylus, Hemidactylus and the Palaearctic naked-toed geckos were simultaneous with or just preceded the start of the India-Asia collision. Diversification within Cyrtodactylus tracks the India-Asia collision and subsequent geological events. A number of geographically concordant clades are resolved within Indo-Burmese Cyrtodactylus. Our study reveals 17 divergent lineages that may represent undescribed species, underscoring the previously undocumented diversity of the region. The importance of rocky habitats for Cyrtodactylus indicates the Indo-Gangetic flood plains and the Garo-Rajmahal Gap are likely to have been important historical barriers for this group.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequences from entire genomes can be used to resolve complex phylogenetic problems. However, the processed data matrix varies depending on the strategies used to determine orthologous loci and to filter loci according to the number of taxa with sequence data for the loci, and often contains plenty of missing data. To explore the utility of RAD sequences for elucidating the phylogenetics of variously related species, we conducted RAD sequencing for the Ohomopterus ground beetles and attempted maximum-likelihood phylogenetic analyses using 42 data matrices ranging from 1.6 × 10(4) to 8.1 × 10(6) base pairs, with 11 to 72% missing data. We demonstrate that robust phylogenetic trees, in terms of bootstrap values, do not necessarily result from larger data matrices, as previously suggested. Robust trees for distantly related and closely related taxa resulted from different data matrices, and topologically different robust trees for distantly related taxa resulted from various data matrices. For closely related taxa, moderately large data matrices strongly supported a topology that is incompatible with morphological evidence, possibly due to the effect of introgressive hybridization. Practically, exploring variously prepared data matrices is an effective way to propose important alternative phylogenetic hypotheses for this study group.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Gene trees of holoparasitic plants usually show distinctly longer branch lengths than seen in photosynthetic closest relatives. Such substitution rate jumps have made it difficult to infer the absolute divergence times of parasites. An additional problem is that parasite clades often lack a fossil record. Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences of Apodanthaceae, a worldwide family of endoparasites living inside Fabaceae and Salicaceae, we compared several new dating approaches: (i) an uncorrelated lognormal (UCLN) model calibrated with outgroup fossils, (ii) ages of host lineages as a maximal age in an UCLN model, (iii) user-assigned local clocks, and (iv) outgroup-fossil-calibrated random local clocks (RLC) with varying prior probabilities on the number of permitted rate changes (RLCu and RLCp models), a variable that has never been explored. The resulting dated phylogenies include all 10 species of the family, three in Australia, one in Iran, one in Africa, and the remainder in the Americas. All clock models infer a drastic rate jump between nonparasitic outgroups and Apodanthaceae, but since they distribute the rate heterogeneity differently, they result in much-different age estimates. Bayes factors using path and stepping-stone sampling indicated that the RLCp model fit poorly, while for matR topologically unconstrained RLCu and UCLN models did not differ significantly and for 18S, the UCLN model was preferred, Under the equally well fitting models, the Apodanthaceae appear to be a relatively old clade, with a stem age falling between 65 and 81 my, the divergence of Apodanthes from Pilostyles between 36 and 57 my ago, and the crown age of the Australian clade 8 to 18 my ago. In our study system, host-age calibrations did not yield well-constrained results, but they may work better in other parasite clades. For small data sets where statistical convergence can be reached even with complex models, random local clocks should be explored as an alternative to the exclusive reliance on UCLN clocks.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A lot is known about the evolution and architecture of plastid, mitochondrial, and nuclear genomes, but surprisingly little is known about their relative rates of mutation. Most available relative-rate data come from seed plants, which, with few exceptions, have a mitochondrial mutation rate that is lower than those of the plastid and nucleus. But new findings from diverse plastid-bearing lineages have shown that for some eukaryotes the mitochondrial mutation rate is an order of magnitude greater than those of the plastid and nucleus. Here, we explore for the first time relative rates of mutation within the Glaucophyta-one of three main lineages that make up the Archaeplastida (or Plantae sensu lato). Nucleotide substitution analyses from distinct isolates of the unicellular glaucophyte Cyanophora paradoxa reveal 4-5-fold lower rates of mutation in the plastid and nucleus than the mitochondrion, which is similar to the mutational pattern observed in red algae and haptophytes, but opposite to that of seed plants. These data, together with data from previous reports, suggest that for much of the known photosynthetic eukaryotic diversity, plastid DNA mutations occur less frequently than those in mitochondrial DNA.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Despite recent progress on the higher-level relationships of the Cottoidei and its familial components, phylogenetic conflict and uncertainty remain within the Cottoidea. We analyzed a dataset composed of 4518 molecular (mitochondrial 12S, tRNA-Val, 16S, and cytochrome b and nuclear TMO-4c4, Histone H3, and 28S) and 72 morphological characters for 69 terminals to address cottoid intrarelationships. The resulting well-resolved phylogeny was used to produce a revised taxonomy that is consistent with the available molecular and morphological data and recognizes six families: Agonidae, Cottidae, Jordaniidae, Psychrolutidae, Rhamphocottidae, and Scorpaenichthyidae. The traditional Agonidae was expanded to include traditional hemitripterids and Hemilepidotus. The traditional Cottidae was restricted to Leptocottus, Trachidermus, and the riverine, lacustrine, and Lake Baikal freshwater cottoids. Jordaniidae (Jordania and Paricelinus) was separated from the traditional cottids; Psychrolutidae was expanded from the traditional grouping to include nearly all traditional marine cottids and the single species of bathylutichthyid. Rhamphocottidae was expanded to include the traditional ereuniids, and Scorpaenichthyidae separated Scorpaenichthys from the traditional cottids. The importance of early-life-history characters to the resulting phylogeny and taxonomy were highlighted.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The phylogeny of Chimarra has previously been examined using morphological characters for a smaller subset of taxa and geographical representativeness. Here molecular data from three genes (COI, CAD and POL-II) are used to reconstruct the phylogeny of the genus. The results show Chimarra to be monophyletic, and that some of the sister groups are paraphyletic. Previous hypothesises regarding the relationships of subgenera within the genus are corroborated but incongruences are also found compared to morphological characters that have been used in keys. The origin of the genus is explored using three different hypotheses of biogeographical region. The biogeography analyses reveal an origin in the Neotropical region and a subsequent rapid radiation, with dispersal into the Oriental, Palaearctic and Australasian regions and secondarily to the Nearctic region. The Afrotropical region has been colonized in several independent events. The molecular dating using a relaxed clock and calibration with four fossil species indicates that Chimarra is about 138 million years old, and that the radiation out of the Neotropical region occurred approximately 124 million years ago.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 07/2014;