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Morphology and nuclear markers reveal extensive mitochondrial introgressions in the Iberian Wall Lizard species complex

Renoult J.P., Geniez P., Bacquet P., Benoit L., Crochet P.A.. 2009. Molecular Ecology, 18 (20) : p. 4298-4315.

Mitochondrial markers are still often used alone to identify evolutionary units, despite widespread evidence for processes such as incomplete lineage sorting or introgressive hybridization that may blur past population history. The combination of mitochondrial DNA data with other sources of information (morphology, nuclear genes) is a powerful tool to reveal when and why mitochondrial markers are potentially misleading. In this study, we evaluate the performance of mtDNA markers to unravel the evolutionary history of Spanish lizards from the Podarcis hispanicus species complex. We first uncover several cases of discordance between morphological and mitochondrial data in delimitation of taxa. To assess the origin of these discordances, we analysed the same populations using several independent nuclear loci. Both morphological and nuclear markers identified the same three evolutionary units in the region, while mitochondrial data revealed four deeply divergent lineages. We suggest here that the most likely scenario to explain this discordance is ancient mitochondrial introgression originating from a fourth evolutionary unit presently absent from the study area. Notably, this resulted in a complete replacement of the original lineage in a large part of the distribution of one of the taxa investigated. We discuss the potential evolutionary scenarios leading to this complete mitochondrial replacement and suggest why the previous studies have failed to recover the correct history of this species complex. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : lézard; europe; podarcis hispanicus

Thématique : Taxonomie et géographie animales; Génétique et amélioration des animaux

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