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BMC Evolutionary Biology

Jostein Gohli, Kjetil L Voje
BACKGROUND: Bergmann's rule proposes that animals in cold habitats will be larger than those in warm habitats. This prediction has been tested thoroughly at the intraspecific level, but few studies have investigated the hypothesis with interspecific data using phylogenetic comparative approaches. Many clades of mammals have representatives in numerous distinct biomes, making this order highly suitable for a large-scale interspecific assessment of Bergmann's rule. Here, we evaluate Bergmann's rule within 22 mammalian families-with a dataset that include ~35 % of all described species-using a phylogenetic comparative approach...
October 19, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Shauna M Baillie, Andrew M Muir, Michael J Hansen, Charles C Krueger, Paul Bentzen
BACKGROUND: Adaptive radiation involving a colonizing phenotype that rapidly evolves into at least one other ecological variant, or ecotype, has been observed in a variety of freshwater fishes in post-glacial environments. However, few studies consider how phenotypic traits vary with regard to neutral genetic partitioning along ecological gradients. Here, we present the first detailed investigation of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush that considers variation as a cline rather than discriminatory among ecotypes...
October 19, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Deepti Varshney, Akanksha Jaiswar, Alok Adholeya, Pushplata Prasad
BACKGROUND: Subtilisin-like serine proteases or Subtilases in fungi are important for penetration and colonization of host. In Hypocreales, these proteins share several properties with other fungal, bacterial, plant and mammalian homologs. However, adoption of specific roles in entomopathogenesis may be governed by attainment of unique biochemical and structural features during the evolutionary course. Due to such functional shifts Subtilases coded by different family members of Hypocreales acquire distinct features according to respective hosts and lifestyle...
October 19, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Martin L Privalsky, Chelsea A Snyder, Michael L Goodson
BACKGROUND: SMRT and NCoR are corepressor paralogs that help mediate transcriptional repression by a variety of transcription factors, including the nuclear hormone receptors. The functions of both corepressors are extensively diversified in mice by alternative mRNA splicing, generating a series of protein variants that differ in different tissues and that exert different, even diametrically opposite, biochemical and biological effects from one another. RESULTS: We report here that the alternative splicing previously reported for SMRT appears to be a relatively recent evolutionary phenomenon, with only one of these previously identified sites utilized in a teleost fish and a limited additional number of the additional known sites utilized in a bird, reptile, and marsupial...
October 19, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Nickias Kienle, Tobias H Kloepper, Dirk Fasshauer
BACKGROUND: A defining feature of eukaryotic cells is the presence of various distinct membrane-bound compartments with different metabolic roles. Material exchange between most compartments occurs via a sophisticated vesicle trafficking system. This intricate cellular architecture of eukaryotes appears to have emerged suddenly, about 2 billion years ago, from much less complex ancestors. How the eukaryotic cell acquired its internal complexity is poorly understood, partly because no prokaryotic precursors have been found for many key factors involved in compartmentalization...
October 18, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Rafael C Duarte, Martin Stevens, Augusto A V Flores
BACKGROUND: Colour and shape polymorphisms are important features of many species and may allow individuals to exploit a wider array of habitats, including through behavioural differences among morphs. In addition, differences among individuals in behaviour and morphology may reflect different strategies, for example utilising different approaches to camouflage. Hippolyte obliquimanus is a small shrimp species inhabiting different shallow-water vegetated habitats. Populations comprise two main morphs: homogeneous shrimp of variable colour (H) and transparent individuals with coloured stripes (ST)...
October 18, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Soledad Sagastume, Raquel Martín-Hernández, Mariano Higes, Nuno Henriques-Gil
BACKGROUND: There is great controversy as to whether Microsporidia undergo a sexual cycle. In the paradigmatic case of Nosema ceranae, although there is no morphological evidence of sex, some meiosis-specific genes are present in its reduced genome and there is also high intraspecific variability, with incongruent phylogenies having been systematically obtained. The possibility of sexual recombination is important from an epidemiological standpoint, particularly as N. ceranae is considered to be a major factor in the current disquieting epidemic of widespread bee colony losses...
October 18, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Yingying Cui, Olivier Béthoux, Boris Kondratieff, Chungkun Shih, Dong Ren
BACKGROUND: The fossil record of Plecoptera (stoneflies) is considered relatively complete, with stem-groups of each of the three major lineages, viz. Antarctoperlaria, Euholognatha and Systellognatha (and some of their families) represented in the Mesozoic. However, the family Pteronarcyidae (the salmonflies; including two genera, Pteronarcys and Pteronarcella) has no fossil record to date, and the family has been suggested to have diverged recently. RESULTS: In this paper, we report on a set of specimens belonging to a new fossil species of stonefly, discovered from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou locality (China)...
October 18, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Amanda L Lumsden, Richard L Young, Nektaria Pezos, Damien J Keating
BACKGROUND: Huntingtin-associated Protein 1 (HAP1) is expressed in neurons and endocrine cells, and is critical for postnatal survival in mice. HAP1 shares a conserved "HAP1_N" domain with TRAfficking Kinesin proteins TRAK1 and TRAK2 (vertebrate), Milton (Drosophila) and T27A3.1 (C. elegans). HAP1, TRAK1 and TRAK2 have a degree of common function, particularly regarding intracellular receptor trafficking. However, TRAK1, TRAK2 and Milton (which have a "Milt/TRAK" domain that is absent in human and rodent HAP1) differ in function to HAP1 in that they are mitochondrial transport proteins, while HAP1 has emerging roles in starvation response...
October 13, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Luciana Cristina Vitorino, Matheus S Lima-Ribeiro, Levi Carina Terribile, Rosane G Collevatti
BACKGROUND: We studied the phylogeography and demographical history of Tabebuia serratifolia (Bignoniaceae) to understand the disjunct geographical distribution of South American seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs). We specifically tested if the multiple and isolated patches of SDTFs are current climatic relicts of a widespread and continuously distributed dry forest during the last glacial maximum (LGM), the so called South American dry forest refugia hypothesis, using ecological niche modelling (ENM) and statistical phylogeography...
October 13, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Chris A Hamilton, Alan R Lemmon, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, Jason E Bond
BACKGROUND: Despite considerable effort, progress in spider molecular systematics has lagged behind many other comparable arthropod groups, thereby hindering family-level resolution, classification, and testing of important macroevolutionary hypotheses. Recently, alternative targeted sequence capture techniques have provided molecular systematics a powerful tool for resolving relationships across the Tree of Life. One of these approaches, Anchored Hybrid Enrichment (AHE), is designed to recover hundreds of unique orthologous loci from across the genome, for resolving both shallow and deep-scale evolutionary relationships within non-model systems...
October 13, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Gemma V Clucas, Jane L Younger, Damian Kao, Alex D Rogers, Jonathan Handley, Gary D Miller, Pierre Jouventin, Paul Nolan, Karim Gharbi, Karen J Miller, Tom Hart
BACKGROUND: Seabirds are important components of marine ecosystems, both as predators and as indicators of ecological change, being conspicuous and sensitive to changes in prey abundance. To determine whether fluctuations in population sizes are localised or indicative of large-scale ecosystem change, we must first understand population structure and dispersal. King penguins are long-lived seabirds that occupy a niche across the sub-Antarctic zone close to the Polar Front. Colonies have very different histories of exploitation, population recovery, and expansion...
October 13, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Andrew G Kelly, Natalie E Netzler, Peter A White
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an enteric, single-stranded, positive sense RNA virus and a significant etiological agent of hepatitis, causing sporadic infections and outbreaks globally. Tracing the evolutionary ancestry of HEV has proved difficult since its identification in 1992, it has been reclassified several times, and confusion remains surrounding its origins and ancestry. RESULTS: To reveal close protein relatives of the Hepeviridae family, similarity searching of the GenBank database was carried out using a complete Orthohepevirus A, HEV genotype I (GI) ORF1 protein sequence and individual proteins...
October 12, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Kei Tsutsui, Masahiro Otoh, Kodama Sakurai, Nami Suzuki-Hashido, Takashi Hayakawa, Takumi Misaka, Yoshiro Ishimaru, Filippo Aureli, Amanda D Melin, Shoji Kawamura, Hiroo Imai
BACKGROUND: New World monkeys (NWMs) are unique in that they exhibit remarkable interspecific variation in color vision and feeding behavior, making them an excellent model for studying sensory ecology. However, it is largely unknown whether non-visual senses co-vary with feeding ecology, especially gustation, which is expected to be indispensable in food selection. Bitter taste, which is mediated by bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) in the tongue, helps organisms avoid ingesting potentially toxic substances in food...
October 12, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Emilien Luquet, Juliette Tariel
BACKGROUND: Within-generational plasticity (WGP) and transgenerational plasticity (TGP) are mechanisms allowing rapid adaptive responses to fluctuating environments without genetic change. These forms of plasticity have often been viewed as independent processes. Recent evidence suggests that WGP is altered by the environmental conditions experienced by previous generations (i.e., TGP). In the context of inducible defenses, one of the most studied cases of plasticity, the WGP x TGP interaction has been poorly investigated...
October 12, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Božo Frajman, Ivana Rešetnik, Marjan Niketić, Friedrich Ehrendorfer, Peter Schönswetter
BACKGROUND: Polyploidy is one of the most important evolutionary pathways in flowering plants and has significantly contributed to their diversification and radiation. Due to the prevalence of reticulate evolution spanning three ploidy levels, Knautia is considered one of the taxonomically most intricate groups in the European flora. On the basis of ITS and plastid DNA sequences as well as AFLP fingerprints obtained from 381 populations of almost all species of the genus we asked the following questions...
October 10, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Joana F Costa, Showe-Mei Lin, Erasmo C Macaya, Cindy Fernández-García, Heroen Verbruggen
BACKGROUND: Obtaining strongly supported phylogenies that permit confident taxonomic and evolutionary interpretations has been a challenge in algal biology. High-throughput sequencing has improved the capacity to generate data and yields more informative datasets. We sequenced and analysed the chloroplast genomes of 22 species of the order Nemaliales as a case study in the use of phylogenomics as an approach to achieve well-supported phylogenies of red algae. RESULTS: Chloroplast genomes of the order Nemaliales are highly conserved, gene-dense and completely syntenic with very few cases of gene loss...
October 10, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Ariel E Marcy, Elizabeth A Hadly, Emma Sherratt, Kathleen Garland, Vera Weisbecker
BACKGROUND: High morphological diversity can occur in closely related animals when selection favors morphologies that are subject to intrinsic biological constraints. A good example is subterranean rodents of the genus Thomomys, one of the most taxonomically and morphologically diverse mammalian genera. Highly procumbent, tooth-digging rodent skull shapes are often geometric consequences of increased body size. Indeed, larger-bodied Thomomys species tend to inhabit harder soils. We used geometric morphometric analyses to investigate the interplay between soil hardness (the main extrinsic selection pressure on fossorial mammals) and allometry (i...
October 10, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Xenia Freilich, José D Anadón, Jolanta Bukala, Ordaliza Calderon, Ronveer Chakraborty, Stéphane Boissinot
BACKGROUND: The Ethiopian highlands are a biodiversity hotspot, split by the Great Rift Valley into two distinct systems of plateaus and mountains. The Rift Valley is currently hot and dry and acts as a barrier to gene flow for highland-adapted species. It is however unlikely that the conditions in the Rift were inhospitable to highland species during the entire Pleistocene. To assess the significance of the Ethiopian Rift as a biogeographic barrier as well as the impact Pleistocene climatic changes have had on the evolution of Ethiopian organisms, we performed phylogeographic analyses and developed present and past niche models on seven anuran species with different elevational and ecological preferences...
October 10, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Jason A Dunlop, Dmitry A Apanaskevich, Jens Lehmann, René Hoffmann, Florian Fusseis, Moritz Ehlke, Stefan Zachow, Xianghui Xiao
BACKGROUND: Fossil ticks are extremely rare and Ixodes succineus Weidner, 1964 from Eocene (ca. 44-49 Ma) Baltic amber is one of the oldest examples of a living hard tick genus (Ixodida: Ixodidae). Previous work suggested it was most closely related to the modern and widespread European sheep tick Ixodes ricinus (Linneaus, 1758). RESULTS: Restudy using phase contrast synchrotron x-ray tomography yielded images of exceptional quality. These confirm the fossil's referral to Ixodes Latreille, 1795, but the characters resolved here suggest instead affinities with the Asian subgenus Partipalpiger Hoogstraal et al...
October 10, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
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