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Phylogenomic Reconstruction Sheds Light on New Relationships and Timescale of Rails (Aves: Rallidae) Evolution

Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health Laboratory, Hopkirk Research Institute, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Private Bag, 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, 319 Stadium Drive, PO Box 3064295, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4295, USA
Department of Scientific Computing, Florida State University, Dirac Science Library, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4102, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 70;
Received: 21 October 2019 / Revised: 28 January 2020 / Accepted: 4 February 2020 / Published: 7 February 2020
The integration of state-of-the-art molecular techniques and analyses, together with a broad taxonomic sampling, can provide new insights into bird interrelationships and divergence. Despite their evolutionary significance, the relationships among several rail lineages remain unresolved as does the general timescale of rail evolution. Here, we disentangle the deep phylogenetic structure of rails using anchored phylogenomics. We analysed a set of 393 loci from 63 species, representing approximately 40% of the extant familial diversity. Our phylogenomic analyses reconstruct the phylogeny of rails and robustly infer several previously contentious relationships. Concatenated maximum likelihood and coalescent species-tree approaches recover identical topologies with strong node support. The results are concordant with previous phylogenetic studies using small DNA datasets, but they also supply an additional resolution. Our dating analysis provides contrasting divergence times using fossils and Bayesian and non-Bayesian approaches. Our study refines the evolutionary history of rails, offering a foundation for future evolutionary studies of birds.
Keywords: evolution; phylogenomics; Rallidae; systematics; timetree evolution; phylogenomics; Rallidae; systematics; timetree
MDPI and ACS Style

Garcia-R, J.C.; Lemmon, E.M.; Lemmon, A.R.; French, N. Phylogenomic Reconstruction Sheds Light on New Relationships and Timescale of Rails (Aves: Rallidae) Evolution. Diversity 2020, 12, 70.

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