Integration of Bayesian molecular clock methods and fossil-based soft bounds reveals early Cenozoic origin of African lacertid lizards

  • Background Although current molecular clock methods offer greater flexibility in modelling historical evolutionary events, calibration of the clock with dates from the fossil record is still problematic for many groups. Here we implement several new approaches in molecular dating to estimate evolutionary ages of Lacertidae, an Old World family of lizards with a poor fossil record and uncertain phylogeny. Four different models of rate variation are tested in a new program for Bayesian phylogenetic analysis called TreeTime, based on a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences. We incorporate paleontological uncertainty into divergence estimates by expressing multiple calibration dates as a range of probabilistic distributions. We also test the reliability of our proposed calibrations by exploring effects of individual priors on posterior estimates. Results According to the most reliable model, as indicated by Bayes factor comparison, modern lacertids arose shortly after the K/T transition and entered Africa about 45 million years ago, with the majority of their African radiation occurring in the Eocene and Oligocene. Our findings indicate much earlier origins for these clades than previously reported, and we discuss our results in light of paleogeographic trends during the Cenozoic. Conclusions This study represents the first attempt to estimate evolutionary ages of a specific group of reptiles exhibiting uncertain phylogenetic relationships, molecular rate variation and a poor fossil record. Our results emphasize the sensitivity of molecular divergence dates to fossil calibrations, and support the use of combined molecular data sets and multiple, well-spaced dates from the fossil record as minimum node constraints. The bioinformatics program used here, TreeTime, is publicly available, and we recommend its use for molecular dating of taxa faced with similar challenges.

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Author:Christy A. Hipsley, Lin Himmelmann, Dirk Metzler, Johannes Müller
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30-64350
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-9-151
ISSN:1471-2148
Pubmed Id:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19570207
Parent Title (English):BMC evolutionary biology
Publisher:BioMed Central ; Springer
Place of publication:London ; Berlin ; Heidelberg
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2009/08/10
Date of first Publication:2009/07/01
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2009/08/10
Volume:9
Issue:Art. 151
Page Number:13
First Page:1
Last Page:13
Note:
© Hipsley et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009. 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.
Source:BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:151 ; doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-151 ; http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/9/151/abstract
HeBIS-PPN:214645576
Institutes:Informatik und Mathematik / Informatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 2.0