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Morphological species and discordant mtDNA: A genomic analysis of Phrynocephalus lizard lineages on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

Jin, Y and Brown, RP (2019) Morphological species and discordant mtDNA: A genomic analysis of Phrynocephalus lizard lineages on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 139. ISSN 1055‐7903

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Many species have been established on the basis of morphology, with markers such as mtDNA used to confirm the existence of independent historical lineages. Discordance between morphology and gene trees makes this less straightforward. Genotyping by sequencing (GBS) was used to analyse general genomic divergence across two recognized high altitude lizard species found in the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. One of the species (Phyrnocephalus guinanensis) is found on a large area of sand dune habitat and distinguished from the other (P. putjatia) by morphology. We found that the primary pattern of genomic divergence is discordant with these morphological species: northern P. putjatia populations from around the large saline Qinghai lake are genomically distinct from P. putjatia and P. guinanensis populations located south of the Qinghai South and Riyue Mountains. Two competing historical scenarios were assessed using approximate Bayesian computation which unequivocally favoured a split between populations separated by the Qinghai South and Riyue mountains over a split between morphological species. The findings indicate that historical vicariance due to geographical features underpins the phylogenetic split rather than ecology-mediated divergence between sand dune and non-sand areas which i) is predicted by the mtDNA tree (showing the utility of this marker in species delimitation) and ii) demonstrates the unsuitability of the morphology-based taxonomy (indicating that large morphological differences do not always reflect historical lineages). In addition, we found a clear signal of isolation-by-distance around the periphery of Qinghai lake which suggests: i) a high level of resolution by GBS for detecting local divergence and ii) restricted gene flow over relatively short geographic distances. Overall, we show how morphological variation can mislead taxonomic conclusions and the utility of GBS for resolving these issues.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0604 Genetics, 0603 Evolutionary Biology, 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 10:21
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:18
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.ympev.2019.106523
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10859
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