Molecular evidence for hybridization between two Australian desert skinks, Ctenotus leonhardii and Ctenotus quattuordecimlineatus (Scincidae: Squamata)

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Daniel L RaboskyIrby J Lovette


Australian scincid lizards in the genus Ctenotus constitute the most diverse vertebrate radiation in Australia. However, the evolutionary processes that have generated this diversity remain elusive, in part because both interspecific phylogenetic relationships and phylogeographic structure within Ctenotus species remain poorly known. Here we use nucleotide sequences from a mitochondrial locus and two nuclear introns to investigate broad-scale phylogeographic patterns within Ctenotus leonhardii and C. quattuordecimlineatus, two geographically widespread species of skinks that were found to have a surprisingly close genetic relationship in a previous molecular phylogenetic study. We demonstrate that the apparent close relationship between these ecologically and phenotypically distinct taxa is attributable to mitochondrial introgression from C. quattuordecimlineatus to C. leonhardii. In the western deserts, Ctenotus leonhardii individuals carry mtDNA lineages that are derived from C. quattuordecimlineatus mtDNA lineages from that geographic region. Coalescent simulations indicate that this pattern is unlikely to have resulted from incomplete lineage sorting, implicating introgressive hybridization as the cause of this regional gen...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Cell Nucleus
DNA, Mitochondrial
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