The linking of plate tectonics and evolutionary divergence

Phillips, Matthew J., Page, Timothy J., de Bruyn, Mark, Huey, Joel A., Humphreys, William F., Hughes, Jane M., Santos, Scott R., Schmidt, Daniel J., & Waters, Jonathan M. (2013) The linking of plate tectonics and evolutionary divergence. Current Biology, 23(14), R603-R605.

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Abstract

It is exciting to be living at a time when the big questions in biology can be investigated using modern genetics and computing [1]. Bauzà-Ribot et al.[2] take on one of the fundamental drivers of biodiversity, the effect of continental drift in the formation of the world’s biota 3 and 4, employing next-generation sequencing of whole mitochondrial genomes and modern Bayesian relaxed molecular clock analysis. Bauzà-Ribot et al.[2] conclude that vicariance via plate tectonics best explains the genetic divergence between subterranean metacrangonyctid amphipods currently found on islands separated by the Atlantic Ocean. This finding is a big deal in biogeography, and science generally [3], as many other presumed biotic tectonic divergences have been explained as probably due to more recent transoceanic dispersal events [4]. However, molecular clocks can be problematic 5 and 6 and we have identified three issues with the analyses of Bauzà-Ribot et al.[2] that cast serious doubt on their results and conclusions. When we reanalyzed their mitochondrial data and attempted to account for problems with calibration 5 and 6, modeling rates across branches 5 and 7 and substitution saturation [5], we inferred a much younger date for their key node. This implies either a later trans-Atlantic dispersal of these crustaceans, or more likely a series of later invasions of freshwaters from a common marine ancestor, but either way probably not ancient tectonic plate movements.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 62253
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.06.001
ISSN: 0960-9822
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (060300) > Animal Systematics and Taxonomy (060301)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400) > Molecular Evolution (060409)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Current Biology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Current Biology, [VOL 23, ISSUE 14, (2013)] DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.06.001
Deposited On: 02 Sep 2013 23:59
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2014 03:20

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