Mar 11, 2016

Matching loci surveyed to questions asked in phylogeography

Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Chih-Ming HungRobert M Zink


Although mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has long been used for assessing genetic variation within and between populations, its workhorse role in phylogeography has been criticized owing to its single-locus nature. The only choice for testing mtDNA results is to survey nuclear loci, which brings into contrast the difference in locus effective size and coalescence times. Thus, it remains unclear how erroneous mtDNA-based estimates of species history might be, especially for evolutionary events in the recent past. To test the robustness of mtDNA and nuclear sequences in phylogeography, we provide one of the largest paired comparisons of summary statistics and demographic parameters estimated from mitochondrial, five Z-linked and 10 autosomal genes of 30 avian species co-distributed in the Caucasus and Europe. The results suggest that mtDNA is robust in estimating inter-population divergence but not in intra-population diversity, which is sensitive to population size change. Here, we provide empirical evidence showing that mtDNA was more likely to detect population divergence than any other single locus owing to its smaller Ne and thus faster coalescent time. Therefore, at least in birds, numerous studies that have based their inference...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Bufo verrucosissimus
DNA, Mitochondrial
Cell Nucleus

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