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Genes 2018, 9(3), 166;

Evolutionary Mechanisms of Varying Chromosome Numbers in the Radiation of Erebia Butterflies

Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Schönbeinstrasse 6, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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The evolution of intrinsic barriers to gene flow is a crucial step in the process of speciation. Chromosomal changes caused by fusion and fission events are one such barrier and are common in several groups of Lepidoptera. However, it remains unclear if and how chromosomal changes have contributed to speciation in this group. I tested for a phylogenetic signal of varying chromosome numbers in Erebia butterflies by combining existing sequence data with karyological information. I also compared different models of trait evolution in order to infer the underlying evolutionary mechanisms. Overall, I found significant phylogenetic signals that are consistent with non-neutral trait evolution only when parts of the mitochondrial genome were included, suggesting cytonuclear discordances. The adaptive evolutionary model tested in this study consistently outperformed the neutral model of trait evolution. Taken together, these results suggest that, unlike other Lepidoptera groups, changes in chromosome numbers may have played a role in the diversification of Erebia butterflies. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lepidoptera; Erebia; adaptive radiation; chromosomal rearrangement; intrinsic barriers Lepidoptera; Erebia; adaptive radiation; chromosomal rearrangement; intrinsic barriers

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary materials

  • Supplementary File 1:

    Supplementary (ZIP, 60 KB)

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1183375
    Description: Table S1: Accession numbers for each gene and individual included in this study. Table S2: Codon partitioning scheme for each gene used for the Bayesian analysis.

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Lucek, K. Evolutionary Mechanisms of Varying Chromosome Numbers in the Radiation of Erebia Butterflies. Genes 2018, 9, 166.

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