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Evolutionary relationships and divergence times among the native rats of Australia

Robins, Judith; McLenachan, Patricia A; Phillips, Matthew J; McComish, Bennet J; Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth; Ross, Howard A

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BACKGROUND The genus Rattus is highly speciose and has a complex taxonomy that is not fully resolved. As shown previously there are two major groups within the genus, an Asian and an Australo-Papuan group. This study focuses on the Australo-Papuan group and particularly on the Australian rats. There are uncertainties regarding the number of species within the group and the relationships among them. We analysed 16 mitochondrial genomes, including seven novel genomes from six species, to help...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorRobins, Judith
dc.contributor.authorMcLenachan, Patricia A
dc.contributor.authorPhillips, Matthew J
dc.contributor.authorMcComish, Bennet J
dc.contributor.authorMatisoo-Smith, Elizabeth
dc.contributor.authorRoss, Howard A
dc.date.accessioned2016-01-18T03:30:35Z
dc.date.available2016-01-18T03:30:35Z
dc.identifier.issn1471-2148
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/95505
dc.description.abstractBACKGROUND The genus Rattus is highly speciose and has a complex taxonomy that is not fully resolved. As shown previously there are two major groups within the genus, an Asian and an Australo-Papuan group. This study focuses on the Australo-Papuan group and particularly on the Australian rats. There are uncertainties regarding the number of species within the group and the relationships among them. We analysed 16 mitochondrial genomes, including seven novel genomes from six species, to help elucidate the evolutionary history of the Australian rats. We also demonstrate, from a larger dataset, the usefulness of short regions of the mitochondrial genome in identifying these rats at the species level. RESULTS Analyses of 16 mitochondrial genomes representing species sampled from Australo-Papuan and Asian clades of Rattus indicate divergence of these two groups ~2.7 million years ago (Mya). Subsequent diversification of at least 4 lineages within the Australo-Papuan clade was rapid and occurred over the period from ~ 0.9-1.7 Mya, a finding that explains the difficulty in resolving some relationships within this clade. Phylogenetic analyses of our 126 taxon, but shorter sequence (1952 nucleotides long), Rattus database generally give well supported species clades. CONCLUSIONS Our whole mitochondrial genome analyses are concordant with a taxonomic division that places the native Australian rats into the Rattus fuscipes species group. We suggest the following order of divergence of the Australian species. R. fuscipes is the oldest lineage among the Australian rats and is not part of a New Guinean radiation. R. lutreolus is also within this Australian clade and shallower than R. tunneyi while the R. sordidus group is the shallowest lineage in the clade. The divergences within the R. sordidus and R. leucopus lineages occurring about half a million years ago support the hypotheses of more recent interchanges of rats between Australia and New Guinea. While problematic for inference of deeper divergences, we report that the analysis of shorter mitochondrial sequences is very useful for species identification in rats.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was funded by the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution and the Marsden Fund of New Zealand.
dc.publisherBioMed Central
dc.rights© Robins et al. 2010 This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
dc.sourceBMC evolutionary biology
dc.subjectanimals
dc.subjectaustralia
dc.subjectbayes theorem
dc.subjectnew guinea
dc.subjectrats
dc.subjectsequence alignment
dc.subjectsequence analysis, dna
dc.subjectbiological evolution
dc.subjectgenome, mitochondrial
dc.subjectphylogeny
dc.titleEvolutionary relationships and divergence times among the native rats of Australia
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume10
dc.date.issued2010-12-02
local.identifier.absfor060302
local.identifier.ariespublicationf2965xPUB417
local.publisher.urlhttp://www.biomedcentral.com/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationRobins, Judith, University of Auckland, New Zealand
local.contributor.affiliationMcLenachan, Patricia A., Massey University, New Zealand
local.contributor.affiliationPhillips, Matthew, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Research School of Biology, Division of Evolution, Ecology & Genetics, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationMcComish, Bennet J., Massey University, New Zealand
local.contributor.affiliationMatisoo-Smith, Elizabeth, Otago School of Medical Sciences, New Zealand
local.contributor.affiliationRoss, Howard A, University of Auckland, New Zealand
local.identifier.essn1471-2148
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage375
local.identifier.doi10.1186/1471-2148-10-375
local.identifier.absseo970106
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T08:28:47Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-78649606510
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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