Toward resolving deep neoaves phylogeny: data, signal enhancement, and priors.
ABSTRACT We report three developments toward resolving the challenge of the apparent basal polytomy of neoavian birds. First, we describe improved conditional down-weighting techniques to reduce noise relative to signal for deeper divergences and find increased agreement between data sets. Second, we present formulae for calculating the probabilities of finding predefined groupings in the optimal tree. Finally, we report a significant increase in data: nine new mitochondrial (mt) genomes (the dollarbird, New Zealand kingfisher, great potoo, Australian owlet-nightjar, white-tailed trogon, barn owl, a roadrunner [a ground cuckoo], New Zealand long-tailed cuckoo, and the peach-faced lovebird) and together they provide data for each of the six main groups of Neoaves proposed by Cracraft J (2001). We use his six main groups of modern birds as priors for evaluation of results. These include passerines, cuckoos, parrots, and three other groups termed "WoodKing" (woodpeckers/rollers/kingfishers), "SCA" (owls/potoos/owlet-nightjars/hummingbirds/swifts), and "Conglomerati." In general, the support is highly significant with just two exceptions, the owls move from the "SCA" group to the raptors, particularly accipitrids (buzzards/eagles) and the osprey, and the shorebirds may be an independent group from the rest of the "Conglomerati". Molecular dating mt genomes support a major diversification of at least 12 neoavian lineages in the Late Cretaceous. Our results form a basis for further testing with both nuclear-coding sequences and rare genomic changes.
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ABSTRACT: This is the third update on the taxonomy of species and higher taxa on the Dutch List since Voous (1977). It summarizes decisions made by the Commissie Systematiek Nederlandse Avifauna (CSNA) between Jan 2004 and Dec 2008. Changes in this report fall into five categories: (1) the sequence within and among some groups is changed to reflect their phylogenetic relationships (flamingos and grebes, eagles, shanks, gulls, terns, swallows and tits); (2) 20 scientific names are changed due to generic revisions (Aquila pennata, A. fasciata, Chroicocephalus genei, C. Philadelphia, C. ridibundus, Hydrocoloeus minutus, Onychoprion anaethetus, Sternula albifrons, Hydroprogne caspia, Megaceryle alcyon, Cecropis daurica, Geokichla sibirica, Cyanistes caeruleus, Lophophanes cristatus, Periparus ater, Poecile montanus, P. palustris, Pastor roseus, Agropsar sturninus, Melospiza melodia); (3) two scientific names replace others presently on the list due to the recognition of extralimital taxa as species (Turdus eunomus, T. atrogularis); (4) one species is added because of a split from a species already on the Dutch List (Sylvia subalpina); (5) two species become monotypic due to the recognition of an extralimital taxon as species (Tarsiger cyanurus, Oenanthe pleschanka).Ardea -Wageningen- 01/2011; · 0.59 Impact Factor
Article: Full mitochondrial genome sequences of two endemic Philippine hornbill species (Aves: Bucerotidae) provide evidence for pervasive mitochondrial DNA recombination.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although nowaday it is broadly accepted that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) may undergo recombination, the frequency of such recombination remains controversial. Its estimation is not straightforward, as recombination under homoplasmy (i.e., among identical mt genomes) is likely to be overlooked. In species with tandem duplications of large mtDNA fragments the detection of recombination can be facilitated, as it can lead to gene conversion among duplicates. Although the mechanisms for concerted evolution in mtDNA are not fully understood yet, recombination rates have been estimated from "one per speciation event" down to 850 years or even "during every replication cycle". Here we present the first complete mt genome of the avian family Bucerotidae, i.e., that of two Philippine hornbills, Aceros waldeni and Penelopides panini. The mt genomes are characterized by a tandemly duplicated region encompassing part of cytochrome b, 3 tRNAs, NADH6, and the control region. The duplicated fragments are identical to each other except for a short section in domain I and for the length of repeat motifs in domain III of the control region. Due to the heteroplasmy with regard to the number of these repeat motifs, there is some size variation in both genomes; with around 21,657 bp (A. waldeni) and 22,737 bp (P. panini), they significantly exceed the hitherto longest known avian mt genomes, that of the albatrosses. We discovered concerted evolution between the duplicated fragments within individuals. The existence of differences between individuals in coding genes as well as in the control region, which are maintained between duplicates, indicates that recombination apparently occurs frequently, i.e., in every generation. The homogenised duplicates are interspersed by a short fragment which shows no sign of recombination. We hypothesize that this region corresponds to the so-called Replication Fork Barrier (RFB), which has been described from the chicken mitochondrial genome. As this RFB is supposed to halt replication, it offers a potential mechanistic explanation for frequent recombination in mitochondrial genomes.BMC Genomics 01/2011; 12:35. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Microinversions are cytologically undetectable inversions of DNA sequences that accumulate slowly in genomes. Like many other rare genomic changes (RGCs), microinversions are thought to be virtually homoplasy-free evolutionary characters, suggesting that they may be very useful for difficult phylogenetic problems such as the avian tree of life. However, few detailed surveys of these genomic rearrangements have been conducted, making it difficult to assess this hypothesis or understand the impact of microinversions upon genome evolution. We surveyed non-coding sequence data from a recent avian phylogenetic study and found substantially more microinversions than expected based upon prior information about vertebrate inversion rates, although this is likely due to underestimation of these rates in previous studies. Most microinversions were lineage-specific or united well-accepted groups. However, some homoplastic microinversions were evident among the informative characters. Hemiplasy, which reflects differences between gene trees and the species tree, did not explain the observed homoplasy. Two specific loci were microinversion hotspots, with high numbers of inversions that included both the homoplastic as well as some overlapping microinversions. Neither stem-loop structures nor detectable sequence motifs were associated with microinversions in the hotspots. Microinversions can provide valuable phylogenetic information, although power analysis indicates that large amounts of sequence data will be necessary to identify enough inversions (and similar RGCs) to resolve short branches in the tree of life. Moreover, microinversions are not perfect characters and should be interpreted with caution, just as with any other character type. Independent of their use for phylogenetic analyses, microinversions are important because they have the potential to complicate alignment of non-coding sequences. Despite their low rate of accumulation, they have clearly contributed to genome evolution, suggesting that active identification of microinversions will prove useful in future phylogenomic studies.BMC Evolutionary Biology 01/2011; 11:141. · 3.52 Impact Factor