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Ascidian Mitogenomics: Comparison of Evolutionary Rates in Closely Related Taxa Provides Evidence of Ongoing Speciation Events

AuthorsGriggio, Francesca; Voskoboynik, Ayelet; Iannelli, Fabio; Justy, Fabienne; Marie-Ka, Tilak; Turon, Xavier ; Pesole, Graziano; Douzery, Emmanuel J.P.; Mastrototaro, Francesco; Gissi, Carmela
KeywordsEvolutionary rate
Species identification
Mitochondrial genome
Issue Date2014
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationGenome Biology and Evolution 6(3) : 591-605 (2014)
AbstractAscidians are a fascinating group of filter-feedingmarine chordates characterized by rapid evolution of both sequences and structure of their nuclear andmitochondrial genomes.Moreover, they include several model organisms used to investigate complex biological processes in chordates. To study the evolutionary dynamics of ascidians at short phylogenetic distances, we sequenced 13 new mitogenomes and analyzed them, together with 15 other availablemitogenomes, using a novel approach involving detailedwholemitogenome comparisons of conspecific and congeneric pairs. The evolutionary rate was quite homogeneous at both intraspecific and congeneric level, and the lowest congeneric rateswere found in cryptic (morphologically undistinguishable) and inmorphologically very similar species pairs. Moreover, congeneric nonsynonymous rates (dN)were up to two orders ofmagnitude higher than in intraspecies pairs. Overall, a clear-cut gap sets apart conspecific from congeneric pairs. These evolutionary peculiarities allowed easily identifying an extraordinary intraspecific variability in the model ascidian Botryllus schlosseri, where most pairs show a dN value between that observed at intraspecies and congeneric level, yet consistently lower than that of the Ciona intestinalis cryptic species pair. These data suggest ongoing speciation events producing genetically distinct B. schlosseri entities. Remarkably, these ongoing speciation events were undetectable by the cox1 barcode fragment, demonstrating that, at low phylogenetic distances, the whole mitogenomehas a higher resolvingpower than cox1.Our study showsthatwhole-mitogenomecomparative analyses, performedon a suitable sample of congeneric and intraspecies pairs, may allow detecting not only cryptic species but also ongoing speciation events.
Description15 páginas, 6 figuras, 2 tablas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evu041
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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