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1.  The Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Two Octopods Cistopus chinensis and Cistopus taiwanicus: Revealing the Phylogenetic Position of the Genus Cistopus within the Order Octopoda 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84216.
In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of two species of Cistopus, namely C. chinensis and C. taiwanicus, and conducted a comparative mt genome analysis across the class Cephalopoda. The mtDNA length of C. chinensis and C. taiwanicus are 15706 and 15793 nucleotides with an AT content of 76.21% and 76.5%, respectively. The sequence identity of mtDNA between C. chinensis and C. taiwanicus was 88%, suggesting a close relationship. Compared with C. taiwanicus and other octopods, C. chinensis encoded two additional tRNA genes, showing a novel gene arrangement. In addition, an unusual 23 poly (A) signal structure is found in the ATP8 coding region of C. chinensis. The entire genome and each protein coding gene of the two Cistopus species displayed notable levels of AT and GC skews. Based on sliding window analysis among Octopodiformes, ND1 and DN5 were considered to be more reliable molecular beacons. Phylogenetic analyses based on the 13 protein-coding genes revealed that C. chinensis and C. taiwanicus form a monophyletic group with high statistical support, consistent with previous studies based on morphological characteristics. Our results also indicated that the phylogenetic position of the genus Cistopus is closer to Octopus than to Amphioctopus and Callistoctopus. The complete mtDNA sequence of C. chinensis and C. taiwanicus represent the first whole mt genomes in the genus Cistopus. These novel mtDNA data will be important in refining the phylogenetic relationships within Octopodiformes and enriching the resource of markers for systematic, population genetic and evolutionary biological studies of Cephalopoda.
PMCID: PMC3866134  PMID: 24358345
2.  Genetic differentiation between sandfly populations of Phlebotomus chinensis and Phlebotomus sichuanensis (Diptera: Psychodidae) in China inferred by microsatellites 
Parasites & Vectors  2013;6:115.
Phlebotomus chinensis is a primary vector of visceral leishmaniasis; it occurs in various biotopes with a large geographical distribution, ranging from Yangtze River to northeast China. Phlebotomus sichuanensis, a species closely related to P. chinensis in high altitude regions, has a long term disputation on its taxonomic status. Both species occur in the current epidemic regions and are responsible for the transmission of leishmaniasis. Population genetic analysis will help to understand the population structure and infer the relationship for morphologically indistinguishable cryptic species. In this study, microsatellite markers were used for studying the genetic differentiation between P. chinensis and P. sichuanensis.
Sandflies were collected in 6 representative localities in China in 2005-2009. Ten microsatellite loci were used to estimate population genetic diversity. The intra-population genetic diversity, genetic differentiation and effective population size were estimated.
All 10 microsatellite loci were highly polymorphic across populations, with high allelic richness and heterozygosity. Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium was found in 23 out of 60 (38.33%) comparisons associated with heterozygote deficits, which was likely caused by the presence of null allele and the Wahlund effect. Bayesian clustering analysis revealed three clusters. The cluster I included almost all specimens in the sample SCD collected at high altitude habitats in Sichuan. The other two clusters were shared by the remaining 5 populations, SCJ in Sichuan, GSZ in Gansu, SXL and SXX in Shaanxi and HNS in Henan. The diversity among these 5 populations was low (FST = -0.003-0.090) and no isolation by distance was detected. AMOVA analysis suggested that the variations were largely derived from individuals within populations and among individuals. Consistently, the analysis of ribosomal DNA second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) sequence uncovered three types of variants, which corresponded with the three gene pools revealed by microsatellites.
The data suggested that the SCD population carried a distinct gene pool, which was differentiated from the other populations. The high altitude ecological habitats, distinctive ITS2 and herein divergence inferred by microsatellite loci support the species status of P. sichuanensis. The P. chinensis populations did not have a significant divergence from each another.
PMCID: PMC3649936  PMID: 23607337
Phlebotomus chinensis; Phlebotomus sichuanensis; Genetic differentiation; Microsatellites; China
3.  Phylogeography of the Chinese Beard Eel, Cirrhimuraena chinensis Kaup, Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA: A Range Expansion after the Last Glacial Maximum 
The Chinese beard eel (Cirrhimuraena chinensis Kaup) is an intertidal fish and a model organism for the study of impacts caused by topological fluctuations during the Pleistocene and current intricate hydrological conditions on fauna living in the coastal areas of China. In this study, we examined the phylogeographical pattern, population genetic profile and demographical history of C. chinensis using mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome b (cyt b) and control region (CR)) from 266 individuals sampled in seven localities across the coastal area of southeastern China. The combined data indicated high levels of haplotype diversity and low levels of nucleotide diversity. Analyses of molecular variance (AMOVA) and FST statistics suggested the absence of a significant population structure across the Chinese coast. Neutrality tests, mismatch distributions and Bayesian skyline plots uniformly indicated a recent population expansion. The phylogeographic structure of C. chinensis may be attributed to past population expansion and long-distance pelagic larval dispersal facilitated by present-day ocean currents.
PMCID: PMC4159811  PMID: 25100169
phylogeography; Cirrhimuraena chinensis Kaup; population expansion; last glacial maximum; larval dispersal
4.  Influence of drainage divides versus arid corridors on genetic structure and demography of a widespread freshwater turtle, Emydura macquarii krefftii, from Australia 
Ecology and Evolution  2014;4(5):606-622.
The influence of Pleistocene climatic cycles on Southern Hemisphere biotas is not yet well understood. Australia's eastern coastal margin provides an ideal setting for examining the relative influence of landscape development, sea level fluctuation, and cyclic climatic aridity on the evolution of freshwater biodiversity. We examined the impact of climatic oscillations and physical biogeographic barriers on the evolutionary history of the wide-ranging Krefft's river turtle (Emydura macquarii krefftii), using range-wide sampling (649 individuals representing 18 locations across 11 drainages) and analysis of mitochondrial sequences (∼1.3-kb control region and ND4) and nuclear microsatellites (12 polymorphic loci). A range of phylogeographic (haplotype networks, molecular dating), demographic (neutrality tests, mismatch distributions), and population genetic analyses (pairwise FST, analysis of molecular variance, Bayesian clustering analysis) were implemented to differentiate between competing demographic (local persistence vs. range expansion) and biogeographic (arid corridor vs. drainage divide) scenarios. Genetic data reveal population genetic structure in Krefft's river turtles primarily reflects isolation across drainage divides. Striking north-south regional divergence (2.2% ND4 p-distance; c. 4.73 Ma, 95% higher posterior density (HPD) 2.08–8.16 Ma) was consistent with long-term isolation across a major drainage divide, not an adjacent arid corridor. Ancient divergence among regional lineages implies persistence of northern Krefft's populations despite the recurrent phases of severe local aridity, but with very low contemporary genetic diversity. Stable demography and high levels of genetic diversity are inferred for southern populations, where aridity was less extreme. Range-wide genetic structure in Krefft's river turtles reflects contemporary and historical drainage architecture, although regional differences in the extent of Plio–Pleistocene climatic aridity may be reflected in current levels of genetic diversity.
PMCID: PMC4098141  PMID: 25035802
Burdekin Gap; Chelidae; cyclic aridity; drainage divide; phylogeography; population genetics
5.  Predicted sub-populations in a marine shrimp proteome as revealed by combined EST and cDNA data from multiple Penaeus species 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:295.
Many species of marine shrimp in the Family Penaeidae, viz. Penaeus (Litopenaeus) vannamei, Penaeus monodon, Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) chinensis, and Penaeus (Marsupenaeus) japonicus, are animals of economic importance in the aquaculture industry. Yet information about their DNA and protein sequences is lacking. In order to predict their collective proteome, we combined over 270,000 available EST and cDNA sequences from the 4 shrimp species with all protein sequences of Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. EST data from 4 other crustaceans, the crab Carcinus maenas, the lobster Homarus americanus (Decapoda), the water flea Daphnia pulex, and the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana were also used.
Similarity searches from EST collections of the 4 shrimp species matched 64% of the protein sequences of the fruit fly, but only 45% of nematode proteins, indicating that the shrimp proteome content is more similar to that of an insect than a nematode. Combined results with 4 additional non-shrimp crustaceans increased matching to 78% of fruit fly and 56% of nematode proteins, suggesting that present shrimp EST collections still lack sequences for many conserved crustacean proteins. Analysis of matching data revealed the presence of 4 EST groups from shrimp, namely sequences for proteins that are both fruit fly-like and nematode-like, fruit fly-like only, nematode-like only, and non-matching. Gene ontology profiles of proteins for the 3 matching EST groups were analyzed. For non-matching ESTs, a small fraction matched protein sequences from other species in the UniProt database, including other crustacean-specific proteins.
Shrimp ESTs indicated that the shrimp proteome is comprised of sub-populations of proteins similar to those common to both insect and nematode models, those present specifically in either model, or neither. Combining small EST collections from related species to compensate for their small size allowed prediction of conserved expressed protein components encoded by their uncharacterized genomes. The organized data should be useful for transferring annotation data from model species into shrimp data and for further studies on shrimp proteins with particular functions or groups.
PMCID: PMC2993728  PMID: 21067619
6.  Rapid Development of Microsatellite Markers for Callosobruchus chinensis Using Illumina Paired-End Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95458.
The adzuki bean weevil, Callosobruchus chinensis L., is one of the most destructive pests of stored legume seeds such as mungbean, cowpea, and adzuki bean, which usually cause considerable loss in the quantity and quality of stored seeds during transportation and storage. However, a lack of genetic information of this pest results in a series of genetic questions remain largely unknown, including population genetic structure, kinship, biotype abundance, and so on. Co-dominant microsatellite markers offer a great resolving power to determine these events. Here, we report rapid microsatellite isolation from C. chinensis via high-throughput sequencing.
Principal Findings
In this study, 94,560,852 quality-filtered and trimmed reads were obtained for the assembly of genome using Illumina paired-end sequencing technology. In total, the genome with total length of 497,124,785 bp, comprising 403,113 high quality contigs was generated with de novo assembly. More than 6800 SSR loci were detected and a suit of 6303 primer pair sequences were designed and 500 of them were randomly selected for validation. Of these, 196 pair of primers, i.e. 39.2%, produced reproducible amplicons that were polymorphic among 8 C. chinensis genotypes collected from different geographical regions. Twenty out of 196 polymorphic SSR markers were used to analyze the genetic diversity of 18 C. chinensis populations. The results showed the twenty SSR loci were highly polymorphic among these populations.
This study presents a first report of genome sequencing and de novo assembly for C. chinensis and demonstrates the feasibility of generating a large scale of sequence information and SSR loci isolation by Illumina paired-end sequencing. Our results provide a valuable resource for C. chinensis research. These novel markers are valuable for future genetic mapping, trait association, genetic structure and kinship among C. chinensis.
PMCID: PMC4023940  PMID: 24835431
7.  Expression of floral MADS-box genes in Sinofranchetia chinensis (Lardizabalaceae): implications for the nature of the nectar leaves 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(1):57-69.
Background and Aims
The perianths of the Lardizabalaceae are diverse. The second-whorl floral organs of Sinofranchetia chinensis (Lardizabalaceae) are nectar leaves. The aim of this study was to explore the nature of this type of floral organ, and to determine its relationship to nectar leaves in other Ranunculales species, and to other floral organs in Sinofranchetia chinensis.
Approaches of evolutionary developmental biology were used, including 3′ RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) for isolating floral MADS-box genes, phylogenetic analysis for reconstructing gene evolutionary history, in situ hybridization and tissue-specific RT-PCR for identifying gene expression patterns and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) for observing the epidermal cell morphology of floral organs.
Key Results
Fourteen new floral MADS-box genes were isolated from Sinofranchetia chinensis and from two other species of Lardizabalaceae, Holboellia grandiflora and Decaisnea insignis. The phylogenetic analysis of AP3-like genes in Ranunculales showed that three AP3 paralogues from Sinofranchetia chinensis belong to the AP3-I, -II and -III lineages. In situ hybridization results showed that SIchAP3-3 is significantly expressed only in nectar leaves at the late stages of floral development, and SIchAG, a C-class MADS-box gene, is expressed not only in stamens and carpels, but also in nectar leaves. SEM observation revealed that the adaxial surface of nectar leaves is covered with conical epidermal cells, a hallmark of petaloidy.
The gene expression data imply that the nectar leaves in S. chinensis might share a similar genetic regulatory code with other nectar leaves in Ranunculales species. Based on gene expression and morphological evidence, it is considered that the nectar leaves in S. chinensis could be referred to as petals. Furthermore, the study supports the hypothesis that the nectar leaves in some Ranunculales species might be derived from stamens.
PMCID: PMC3380600  PMID: 22652421
Nectar leaves; perianth; petals; Ranunculales; Lardizabalaceae; Sinofranchetia chinensis; MADS-box; expression pattern; evolutionary developmental biology
8.  Paleoclimatic modeling and phylogeography of least killifish, Heterandria formosa: insights into Pleistocene expansion-contraction dynamics and evolutionary history of North American Coastal Plain freshwater biota 
Climatic and sea-level fluctuations throughout the last Pleistocene glacial cycle (~130-0 ka) profoundly influenced present-day distributions and genetic diversity of Northern Hemisphere biotas by forcing range contractions in many species during the glacial advance and allowing expansion following glacial retreat ('expansion-contraction’ model). Evidence for such range dynamics and refugia in the unglaciated Gulf-Atlantic Coastal Plain stems largely from terrestrial species, and aquatic species Pleistocene responses remain relatively uninvestigated. Heterandria formosa, a wide-ranging regional endemic, presents an ideal system to test the expansion-contraction model within this biota. By integrating ecological niche modeling and phylogeography, we infer the Pleistocene history of this livebearing fish (Poeciliidae) and test for several predicted distributional and genetic effects of the last glaciation.
Paleoclimatic models predicted range contraction to a single southwest Florida peninsula refugium during the Last Glacial Maximum, followed by northward expansion. We inferred spatial-population subdivision into four groups that reflect genetic barriers outside this refuge. Several other features of the genetic data were consistent with predictions derived from an expansion-contraction model: limited intraspecific divergence (e.g. mean mtDNA p-distance = 0.66%); a pattern of mtDNA diversity (mean Hd = 0.934; mean π = 0.007) consistent with rapid, recent population expansion; a lack of mtDNA isolation-by-distance; and clinal variation in allozyme diversity with higher diversity at lower latitudes near the predicted refugium. Statistical tests of mismatch distributions and coalescent simulations of the gene tree lent greater support to a scenario of post-glacial expansion and diversification from a single refugium than to any other model examined (e.g. multiple-refugia scenarios).
Congruent results from diverse data indicate H. formosa fits the classic Pleistocene expansion-contraction model, even as the genetic data suggest additional ecological influences on population structure. While evidence for Plio-Pleistocene Gulf Coast vicariance is well described for many freshwater species presently codistributed with H. formosa, this species demography and diversification departs notably from this pattern. Species-specific expansion-contraction dynamics may therefore have figured more prominently in shaping Coastal Plain evolutionary history than previously thought. Our findings bolster growing appreciation for the complexity of phylogeographical structuring within North America’s southern refugia, including responses of Coastal Plain freshwater biota to Pleistocene climatic fluctuations.
PMCID: PMC3851817  PMID: 24107245
9.  Recent evolution of alternative reproductive modes in the 'living fossil' Triops cancriformis 
The Notostraca is a small but ancient crustacean order with a contrasting combination of a conservative morphology and a wide range of reproductive modes. The tadpole shrimp Triops cancriformis, includes bisexual – the putatively ancestral state -, androdioecious and hermaphrodite populations. As hermaphroditism and androdioecy confer a colonisation advantage, we expect the postglacial colonisation of northern Europe to have been effected by lineages with such reproductive modes. Therefore, N European populations should be composed of closely related lineages reflecting a recent range expansion. In contrast, glacial refugia in the south should contain bisexual populations with high haplotype diversity and more population structuring. To test these hypotheses, we analysed the geographic distribution of reproductive modes based on new and published sex ratio data. In addition, we investigated the European phylogeography of T. cancriformis by sequencing over a 1000 bp of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in individuals from a large sample of populations of the three recognised subspecies.
Bisexual populations were only found in the Iberian Peninsula, with the rest of European populations showing low male proportions or no males. Androdioecious populations were found in Central and Eastern Europe. Regarding mtDNA diversity, Spanish and Moroccan populations of T. c. mauritanicus were highly divergent, and showed strong population structure. In contrast, Triops c. cancriformis and T. c. simplex formed a single mtDNA lineage with low haplotype diversity. This diversity was structured into two phylogenetic clades (A, B), coexisting in E Germany. Basal haplotypes of both lineages were found in the Iberian Peninsula. Most of the populations in clade A and B are either hermaphroditic or androdioecious, with the only bisexual population in these clades found in the Iberian Peninsula. The genetic divergence between these two clades suggests a split in the Late Pleistocene and their geographic distribution reflects a complex evolutionary history of European Triops populations, with possibly two episodes of range expansions – one of them by clade A – involving androdioecious and hermaphroditic populations.
As we predicted, N European populations of T. cancriformis are closely related, with few widely distributed haplotypes and indications of a recent range expansion involving hermaphroditic/androdioecious lineages. A possible second range expansion or long distance colonisation may have created the secondary contact zone between T. c. cancriformis/simplex clades A and B. The large haplotype diversity and strong genetic subdivision in the Iberian Peninsula, which is known to contain only bisexual populations, strongly suggest that this area was a Pleistocene refugium for T. cancriformis, although the occurrence of additional eastern refugia cannot be ruled out. Our data support the status of T. c. mauritanicus as a separate species and the colonisation of N Africa from the Iberian Peninsula. We suggest that hermaphroditism/androdioecy has evolved recently in T. cancriformis and has facilitated the postglacial colonisation of northern Europe.
PMCID: PMC2075510  PMID: 17854482
10.  The Microgeographical Patterns of Morphological and Molecular Variation of a Mixed Ploidy Population in the Species Complex Actinidia chinensis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117596.
Polyploidy and hybridization are thought to have significant impacts on both the evolution and diversification of the genus Actinidia, but the structure and patterns of morphology and molecular diversity relating to ploidy variation of wild Actinidia plants remain much less understood. Here, we examine the distribution of morphological variation and ploidy levels along geographic and environmental variables of a large mixed-ploidy population of the A. chinensis species complex. We then characterize the extent of both genetic and epigenetic diversity and differentiation exhibited between individuals of different ploidy levels. Our results showed that while there are three ploidy levels in this population, hexaploids were constituted the majority (70.3%). Individuals with different ploidy levels were microgeographically structured in relation to elevation and extent of niche disturbance. The morphological characters examined revealed clear difference between diploids and hexaploids, however tetraploids exhibited intermediate forms. Both genetic and epigenetic diversity were high but the differentiation among cytotypes was weak, suggesting extensive gene flow and/or shared ancestral variation occurred in this population even across ploidy levels. Epigenetic variation was clearly correlated with changes in altitudes, a trend of continuous genetic variation and gradual increase of epigenomic heterogeneities of individuals was also observed. Our results show that complex interactions between the locally microgeographical environment, ploidy and gene flow impact A. chinensis genetic and epigenetic variation. We posit that an increase in ploidy does not broaden the species habitat range, but rather permits A. chinensis adaptation to specific niches.
PMCID: PMC4319829  PMID: 25658107
11.  Mitochondrial DNA Regionalism and Historical Demography in the Extant Populations of Chirocephalus kerkyrensis (Branchiopoda: Anostraca) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e30082.
Mediterranean temporary water bodies are important reservoirs of biodiversity and host a unique assemblage of diapausing aquatic invertebrates. These environments are currently vanishing because of increasing human pressure. Chirocephalus kerkyrensis is a fairy shrimp typical of temporary water bodies in Mediterranean plain forests and has undergone a substantial decline in number of populations in recent years due to habitat loss. We assessed patterns of genetic connectivity and phylogeographic history in the seven extant populations of the species from Albania, Corfu Is. (Greece), Southern and Central Italy.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed sequence variation at two mitochondrial DNA genes (Cytochrome Oxidase I and 16s rRNA) in all the known populations of C. kerkyrensis. We used multiple phylogenetic, phylogeographic and coalescence-based approaches to assess connectivity and historical demography across the whole distribution range of the species. C. kerkyrensis is genetically subdivided into three main mitochondrial lineages; two of them are geographically localized (Corfu Is. and Central Italy) and one encompasses a wide geographic area (Albania and Southern Italy). Most of the detected genetic variation (≈81%) is apportioned among the aforementioned lineages.
Multiple analyses of mismatch distributions consistently supported both past demographic and spatial expansions with the former predating the latter; demographic expansions were consistently placed during interglacial warm phases of the Pleistocene while spatial expansions were restricted to cold periods. Coalescence methods revealed a scenario of past isolation with low levels of gene flow in line with what is already known for other co-distributed fairy shrimps and suggest drift as the prevailing force in promoting local divergence. We recommend that these evolutionary trajectories should be taken in proper consideration in any effort aimed at protecting Mediterranean temporary water bodies.
PMCID: PMC3281814  PMID: 22363417
12.  Population Differentiation and Hybridisation of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis) Dolphins in North-Western Australia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101427.
Little is known about the Australian snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific humpback (Sousa chinensis) dolphins (‘snubfin’ and ‘humpback dolphins’, hereafter) of north-western Australia. While both species are listed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN, data deficiencies are impeding rigorous assessment of their conservation status across Australia. Understanding the genetic structure of populations, including levels of gene flow among populations, is important for the assessment of conservation status and the effective management of a species. Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, we assessed population genetic diversity and differentiation between snubfin dolphins from Cygnet (n = 32) and Roebuck Bays (n = 25), and humpback dolphins from the Dampier Archipelago (n = 19) and the North West Cape (n = 18). All sampling locations were separated by geographic distances >200 km. For each species, we found significant genetic differentiation between sampling locations based on 12 (for snubfin dolphins) and 13 (for humpback dolphins) microsatellite loci (FST = 0.05–0.09; P<0.001) and a 422 bp sequence of the mitochondrial control region (FST = 0.50–0.70; P<0.001). The estimated proportion of migrants in a population ranged from 0.01 (95% CI 0.00–0.06) to 0.13 (0.03–0.24). These are the first estimates of genetic diversity and differentiation for snubfin and humpback dolphins in Western Australia, providing valuable information towards the assessment of their conservation status in this rapidly developing region. Our results suggest that north-western Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins may exist as metapopulations of small, largely isolated population fragments, and should be managed accordingly. Management plans should seek to maintain effective population size and gene flow. Additionally, while interactions of a socio-sexual nature between these two species have been observed previously, here we provide strong evidence for the first documented case of hybridisation between a female snubfin dolphin and a male humpback dolphin.
PMCID: PMC4079686  PMID: 24988113
13.  Continental phylogeography of an ecologically and morphologically diverse Neotropical songbird, Zonotrichia capensis 
The Neotropics are exceptionally diverse, containing roughly one third of all extant bird species on Earth. This remarkable species richness is thought to be a consequence of processes associated with both Andean orogenesis throughout the Tertiary, and climatic fluctuations during the Quaternary. Phylogeographic studies allow insights into how such events might have influenced evolutionary trajectories of species and ultimately contribute to a better understanding of speciation. Studies on continentally distributed species are of particular interest because different populations of such taxa may show genetic signatures of events that impacted the continent-wide biota. Here we evaluate the genealogical history of one of the world’s most broadly-distributed and polytypic passerines, the rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis).
We obtained control region DNA sequences from 92 Zonotrichia capensis individuals sampled across the species’ range (Central and South America). Six additional molecular markers, both nuclear and mitochondrial, were sequenced for a subset of individuals with divergent control region haplotypes. Median-joining network analysis, and Bayesian and maximum parsimony phylogenetic analyses all recovered three lineages: one spanning Middle America, the Dominican Republic, and north-western South America; one encompassing the Dominican Republic, Roraima (Venezuela) and La Paz (Bolivia) south to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina; and a third, including eastern Argentina and Brazil. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the Middle American/north-western South American clade is sister to the remaining two. Bayesian and maximum likelihood coalescent simulations used to study lineage demographic history, diversification times, migration rates and population expansion together suggested that diversification of the three lineages occurred rapidly during the Pleistocene, with negligible gene flow, leaving genetic signatures of population expansions.
The Pleistocene history of the rufous-collared sparrow involved extensive range expansion from a probable Central American origin. Its remarkable morphological and behavioral diversity probably represents recent responses to local conditions overlying deeper patterns of lineage diversity, which are themselves produced by isolation and the history of colonization of South America.
PMCID: PMC3632491  PMID: 23452908
Colonization; Demographic expansion; Intraspecific divergence; DNA sequences; Pleistocene; Rufous-collared sparrow
14.  Identification of a novel inducible cytosolic Hsp70 gene in Chinese shrimp Fenneropenaeus chinensis and comparison of its expression with the cognate Hsc70 under different stresses 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2009;15(1):83-93.
The heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family is widely expressed in eukaryotic cells as the major chaperone protein. In this study, the full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) of a novel inducible cytosolic Hsp70 family member (FcHsp70) was cloned from Fenneropenaeus chinensis. FcHsp70 full-length cDNA consists of 2,511 bp with a 1,890-bp open reading frame encoding 629 amino acids. Three Hsp70 protein family signatures, IDLGTTYS, IIDLGGGTFDVSIL, and IVLVGGSTRIPKVQK, were found in the predicted FcHsp70 amino acid sequence. Phylogenetic analysis showed that FcHsp70 was categorized together with the inducible HSP70s reported in other crustaceans. Compared to the previously identified cognate Hsp70 (FcHsc70) in F. chinensis, the expression of FcHsp70 showed quite different expression profiles when the shrimp were subjected to different stresses including heat shock and heavy metal treatments. Under heat shock treatment, the expression of FcHsp70 showed much higher up-regulation than FcHsc70. Copper treatment also induced higher up-regulation of FcHsp70 than FcHsc70. Cadmium treatment did not induce the expression of FcHsp70, but caused down-regulation of FcHsc70. The different expression profiles of FcHsp70 and FcHsc70 in shrimp may indicate their different reactions to different stresses. Therefore, Hsp70 or Hsc70 could be developed as a biomarker to indicate different stresses in shrimp.
PMCID: PMC2866979  PMID: 19496024
Heat shock proteins; Hsp70; Heat shock; Heavy metal; Stress; Fenneropenaeus chinensis
15.  TRBP and eIF6 Homologue in Marsupenaeus japonicus Play Crucial Roles in Antiviral Response 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30057.
Plants and invertebrates can suppress viral infection through RNA silencing, mediated by RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Trans-activation response RNA-binding protein (TRBP), consisting of three double-stranded RNA-binding domains, is a component of the RISC. In our previous paper, a TRBP homologue in Fenneropenaeus chinensis (Fc-TRBP) was reported to directly bind to eukaryotic initiation factor 6 (Fc-eIF6). In this study, we further characterized the function of TRBP and the involvement of TRBP and eIF6 in antiviral RNA interference (RNAi) pathway of shrimp. The double-stranded RNA binding domains (dsRBDs) B and C of the TRBP from Marsupenaeus japonicus (Mj-TRBP) were found to mediate the interaction of TRBP and eIF6. Gel-shift assays revealed that the N-terminal of Mj-TRBP dsRBD strongly binds to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and that the homodimer of the TRBP mediated by the C-terminal dsRBD increases the affinity to dsRNA. RNAi against either Mj-TRBP or Mj-eIF6 impairs the dsRNA-induced sequence-specific RNAi pathway and facilitates the proliferation of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). These results further proved the important roles of TRBP and eIF6 in the antiviral response of shrimp.
PMCID: PMC3261181  PMID: 22279564
16.  Lineage diversification and historical demography of a montane bird Garrulax elliotii - implications for the Pleistocene evolutionary history of the eastern Himalayas 
Pleistocene climate fluctuations have shaped the patterns of genetic diversity observed in many extant species. In montane habitats, species' ranges may have expanded and contracted along an altitudinal gradient in response to environmental fluctuations leading to alternating periods of genetic isolation and connectivity. Because species' responses to climate change are influenced by interactions between species-specific characteristics and local topography, diversification pattern differs between species and locations. The eastern Himalayas is one of the world's most prominent mountain ranges. Its complex topography and environmental heterogeneity present an ideal system in which to study how climatic changes during Pleistocene have influenced species distributions, genetic diversification, and demography. The Elliot's laughing thrush (Garrulax elliotii) is largely restricted to high-elevation shrublands in eastern Himalayas. We used mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites to investigate how genetic diversity in this species was affected by Pleistocene glaciations.
Mitochondrial data detected two partially sympatric north-eastern and southern lineages. Microsatellite data, however, identified three distinct lineages congruent with the geographically separated southern, northern and eastern eco-subregions of the eastern Himalayas. Geographic breaks occur in steep mountains and deep valleys of the Kangding-Muli-Baoxin Divide. Divergence time estimates and coalescent simulations indicate that lineage diversification occurred on two different geographic and temporal scales; recent divergence, associated with geographic isolation into individual subregions, and historical divergence, associated with displacement into multiple refugia. Despite long-term isolation, genetic admixture among these subregional populations was observed, indicating historic periods of connectivity. The demographic history of Garrulax elliotii shows continuous population growth since late Pleistocene (about 0.125 mya).
While altitude-associated isolation is typical of many species in other montane regions, our results suggest that eco-subregions in the eastern Himalayas exhibiting island-like characteristics appear to have determined the diversification of Garrulax elliotii. During the Pleistocene, these populations became isolated on subregions during interglacial periods but were connected when these expanded to low altitude during cooler periods. The resultant genetic admixture of lineages might obscure pattern of genetic variation. Our results provide new insights into sky island diversification in a previously unstudied region, and further demonstrate that Pleistocene climatic changes can have profound effects on lineage diversification and demography in montane species.
PMCID: PMC3150279  PMID: 21689460
Pleistocene glaciations; sky islands; diversification; eco-subregion; multiple refugia; genetic admixture
17.  Cloning of cytoplasmic heat shock protein 90 (FcHSP90) from Fenneropenaeus chinensis and its expression response to heat shock and hypoxia 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2008;14(2):161-172.
Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) works as a multi-functional chaperone and is involved in the regulation of many essential cellular pathways. In this study, we have identified a full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) of HSP90 (FcHSP90) from Chinese shrimp Fenneropenaeus chinensis. FcHSP90 full-length cDNA comprised 2,552 bp, including a 2,181-bp open reading frame encoding 726 amino acids. Both homology analyses using alignment with previously identified HSP90 and a phylogeny tree indicated that FcHSP90 was a cytoplasmic HSP90. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that FcHSP90 was ubiquitously expressed in all the examined tissues but with highest levels in ovary of F. chinensis. FcHSP90 mRNA levels were sensitively induced by heat shock (from 25°C to 35°C) and reached the maximum at 6 h during heat shock treatment. Under hypoxia conditions, FcHSP90 mRNA levels, in both hemocytes and gill, were induced at 2 h and depressed at 8 h during hypoxia stress. The assessment of FcHSP90 mRNA levels under heat shock and hypoxia stresses indicated that the transcription of FcHSP90 was very sensitive to heat shock and hypoxia, so we deduced that FcHSP90 might play very important roles for shrimp to cope with environmental stress.
PMCID: PMC2727990  PMID: 18668349
Heat shock protein 90; Fenneropenaeus chinensis; Heat shock; Hypoxia
18.  Genetic analysis of Black Tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) across its natural distribution range reveals more recent colonization of Fiji and other South Pacific islands 
Ecology and Evolution  2012;2(8):2057-2071.
The Black Tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) has a natural distribution range from East Africa to the South Pacific Islands. Although previous studies of Indo-Pacific P. monodon have found populations from the Indian Ocean and Australasia to differ genetically, their relatedness to South Pacific shrimp remains unknown. To address this, polymorphisms at eight shared microsatellite loci and haplotypes in a 418-bp mtDNA-CR (control region) sequence were examined across 682 P. monodon from locations spread widely across its natural range, including the South Pacific islands of Fiji, Palau, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Observed microsatellite heterozygosities of 0.82–0.91, allele richness of 6.85–9.69, and significant mtDNA-CR haplotype variation indicated high levels of genetic diversity among the South Pacific shrimp. Analysis of microsatellite genotypes using a Bayesian STRUCTURE method segregated Indo-Pacific P. monodon into eight distinct clades, with Palau and PNG shrimp clustering among others from Southeast Asia and eastern Australia, respectively, and Fiji shrimp clustering as a distinct group. Phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA-CR haplotypes delineated shrimp into three groupings, with shrimp from Fiji again being distinct by sharing no haplotypes with other populations. Depending on regional location, the genetic structures and substructures identified from the genotyping and mtDNA-CR haplotype phylogeny could be explained by Metapopulation and/or Member–Vagrant type evolutionary processes. Neutrality tests of mutation-drift equilibrium and estimation of the time since population expansion supported a hypothesis that South Pacific P. monodon were colonized from Southeast Asia and eastern Australia during the Pleistocene period over 60,000 years ago when land bridges were more expansive and linked these regions more closely.
PMCID: PMC3434007  PMID: 22957205
Dispersal; microsatellite; mitochondrial DNA; Penaeus monodon; South Pacific islands
19.  Phylogeography of a Habitat Specialist with High Dispersal Capability: The Savi’s Warbler Locustella luscinioides 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38497.
In order to describe the influence of Pleistocene glaciations on the genetic structure and demography of a highly mobile, but specialized, passerine, the Savi’s Warbler (Locustella luscinioides), mitochondrial DNA sequences (ND2) and microsatellites were analysed in c.330 individuals of 17 breeding and two wintering populations. Phylogenetic, population genetics and coalescent methods were used to describe the genetic structure, determine the timing of the major splits and model the demography of populations. Savi’s Warblers split from its sister species c.8 million years ago and have two major haplotype groups that diverged in the early/middle Pleistocene. One of these clades originated in the Balkans and is currently widespread, showing strong evidence for population expansion; whereas the other is restricted to Iberia and remained stable. Microsatellites agreed with a genetic break around the Pyrenees, but showed considerable introgression and a weaker genetic structure. Both genetic markers showed an isolation-by-distance pattern associated with the population expansion of the eastern clade. Breeding populations seem to be segregated at the wintering sites, but results on migratory connectivity are preliminary. Savi’s Warbler is the only known migratory bird species in which Iberian birds did not expand beyond the Pyrenees after the last glaciation. Despite the long period of independent evolution of western and eastern populations, complete introgression occurred when these groups met in Iberia. Mitochondrial sequences indicated the existence of refugia-within-refugia in the Iberian Peninsula during the last glacial period, which is surprising given the high dispersal capacity of this species. Plumage differences of eastern subspecies seemed to have evolved recently through natural selection, in agreement with the glacial expansion hypothesis. This study supports the great importance of the Iberian Peninsula and its role for the conservation of genetic variation.
PMCID: PMC3372518  PMID: 22701653
20.  A Worldwide Phylogeography for the Human X Chromosome 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(6):e557.
We reasoned that by identifying genetic markers on human X chromosome regions where recombination is rare or absent, we should be able to construct X chromosome genealogies analogous to those based on Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms, with the advantage of providing information about both male and female components of the population.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We identified a 47 Kb interval containing an Alu insertion polymorphism (DXS225) and four microsatellites in complete linkage disequilibrium in a low recombination rate region of the long arm of the human X chromosome. This haplotype block was studied in 667 males from the HGDP-CEPH Human Genome Diversity Panel. The haplotypic diversity was highest in Africa (0.992±0.0025) and lowest in the Americas (0.839±0.0378), where no insertion alleles of DXS225 were observed. Africa shared few haplotypes with other geographical areas, while those exhibited significant sharing among themselves. Median joining networks revealed that the African haplotypes were numerous, occupied the periphery of the graph and had low frequency, whereas those from the other continents were few, central and had high frequency. Altogether, our data support a single origin of modern man in Africa and migration to occupy the other continents by serial founder effects. Coalescent analysis permitted estimation of the time of the most recent common ancestor as 182,000 years (56,700–479,000) and the estimated time of the DXS225 Alu insertion of 94,400 years (24,300–310,000). These dates are fully compatible with the current widely accepted scenario of the origin of modern mankind in Africa within the last 195,000 years and migration out-of-Africa circa 55,000–65,000 years ago.
A haplotypic block combining an Alu insertion polymorphism and four microsatellite markers on the human X chromosome is a useful marker to evaluate genetic diversity of human populations and provides a highly informative tool for evolutionary studies.
PMCID: PMC1891433  PMID: 17593958
21.  Patterns of variation in DNA segments upstream of transcription start sites 
Human Mutation  2007;28(5):441-450.
It is likely that evolutionary differences among species are driven by sequence changes in regulatory regions. Likewise, polymorphisms in the promoter regions may be responsible for interindividual differences at the level of populations. We present an unbiased survey of genetic variation in 2-kb segments upstream of the transcription start sites of 28 protein-coding genes, characterized in five population groups of different geographic origin. On average, we found 9.1 polymorphisms and 8.8 haplotypes per segment with corresponding nucleotide and haplotype diversities of 0.082% and 58%, respectively. We characterized these segments through different summary statistics, Hardy-Weinberg equilibria fixation index (Fst) estimates, and neutrality tests, as well as by analyzing the distributions of haplotype allelic classes, introduced here to assess the departure from neutrality and examined by coalescent simulations under a simple population model, assuming recombinations or different demography. Our results suggest that genetic diversity in some of these regions could have been shaped by purifying selection and driven by adaptive changes in the other, thus explaining the relatively large variance in the corresponding genetic diversity indices loci. However, some of these effects could be also due to linkage with surrounding sequences, and the neutralists' explanations cannot be ruled out given uncertainty in the underlying demographic histories and the possibility of random effects due to the small size of the studied segments. Hum Mutat 28(5), 441–450, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
PMCID: PMC2683062  PMID: 17274005
DNA diversity; promoter regions; haplotypes; selective sweeps; human populations
22.  Transcriptomic Analysis of Endangered Chinese Salamander: Identification of Immune, Sex and Reproduction-Related Genes and Genetic Markers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87940.
The Chinese salamander (Hynobius chinensis), an endangered amphibian species of salamander endemic to China, has attracted much attention because of its value of studying paleontology evolutionary history and decreasing population size. Despite increasing interest in the Hynobius chinensis genome, genomic resources for the species are still very limited. A comprehensive transcriptome of Hynobius chinensis, which will provide a resource for genome annotation, candidate genes identification and molecular marker development should be generated to supplement it.
Principal Findings
We performed a de novo assembly of Hynobius chinensis transcriptome by Illumina sequencing. A total of 148,510 nonredundant unigenes with an average length of approximately 580 bp were obtained. In all, 60,388 (40.66%) unigenes showed homologous matches in at least one database and 33,537 (22.58%) unigenes were annotated by all four databases. In total, 41,553 unigenes were categorized into 62 sub-categories by BLAST2GO search, and 19,468 transcripts were assigned to 140 KEGG pathways. A large number of unigenes involved in immune system, local adaptation, reproduction and sex determination were identified, as well as 31,982 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and 460,923 putative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
This dataset represents the first transcriptome analysis of the Chinese salamander (Hynobius chinensis), an endangered species, to be also the first time of hynobiidae. The transcriptome will provide valuable resource for further research in discovery of new genes, protection of population, adaptive evolution and survey of various pathways, as well as development of molecule markers in Chinese salamander; and reference information for closely related species.
PMCID: PMC3909259  PMID: 24498226
23.  Population Genetic Structure and Demographic History of Atrina pectinata Based on Mitochondrial DNA and Microsatellite Markers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95436.
The pen shell, Atrina pectinata, is one of the commercial bivalves in East Asia and thought to be recently affected by anthropogenic pressure (habitat destruction and/or fishing pressure). Information on its population genetic structure is crucial for the conservation of A. pectinata. Considering its long pelagic larval duration and iteroparity with high fecundity, the genetic structure for A. pectinata could be expected to be weak at a fine scale. However, the unusual oceanography in the coasts of China and Korea suggests potential for restricted dispersal of pelagic larvae and geographical differentiation. In addition, environmental changes associated with Pleistocene sea level fluctuations on the East China Sea continental shelf may also have strongly influenced historical population demography and genetic diversity of marine organisms. Here, partial sequences of the mitochondrial Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and seven microsatellite loci were used to estimate population genetic structure and demographic history of seven samples from Northern China coast and one sample from North Korea coast. Despite high levels of genetic diversity within samples, there was no genetic differentiation among samples from Northern China coast and low but significant genetic differentiation between some of the Chinese samples and the North Korean sample. A late Pleistocene population expansion, probably after the Last Glacial Maximum, was also demonstrated for A. pectinata samples. No recent genetic bottleneck was detected in any of the eight samples. We concluded that both historical recolonization (through population range expansion and demographic expansion in the late Pleistocene) and current gene flow (through larval dispersal) were responsible for the weak level of genetic structure detected in A. pectinata.
PMCID: PMC4006771  PMID: 24789175
24.  The importance of Anatolian mountains as the cradle of global diversity in Arabis alpina, a key arctic–alpine species 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(2):241-252.
Background and Aims
Anatolia is a biologically diverse, but phylogeographically under-explored region. It is described as either a centre of origin and long-term Pleistocene refugium, or as a centre for genetic amalgamation, fed from distinct neighbouring refugia. These contrasting hypotheses are tested through a global phylogeographic analysis of the arctic–alpine herb, Arabis alpina.
Herbarium and field collections were used to sample comprehensively the entire global range, with special focus on Anatolia and Levant. Sequence variation in the chloroplast DNA trnL-trnF region was examined in 483 accessions. A haplotype genealogy was constructed and phylogeographic methods, demographic analysis and divergence time estimations were used to identify the centres of diversity and to infer colonization history.
Key Results
Fifty-seven haplotypes were recovered, belonging to three haplogroups with non-overlapping distributions in (1) North America/Europe/northern Africa, (2) the Caucuses/Iranian Plateau/Arabian Peninsula and (3) Ethiopia–eastern Africa. All haplogroups occur within Anatolia, and all intermediate haplotypes linking the three haplogroups are endemic to central Anatolia and Levant, where haplotypic and nucleotide diversities exceeded all other regions. The local pattern of haplotype distribution strongly resembles the global pattern, and the haplotypes began to diverge approx. 2·7 Mya, coinciding with the climate cooling of the early Middle Pleistocene.
The phylogeographic structure of Arabis alpina is consistent with Anatolia being the cradle of origin for global genetic diversification. The highly structured landscape in combination with the Pleistocene climate fluctuations has created a network of mountain refugia and the accumulation of spatially arranged genotypes. This local Pleistocene population history has subsequently left a genetic imprint at the global scale, through four range expansions from the Anatolian diversity centre into Europe, the Near East, Arabia and Africa. Hence this study also illustrates the importance of sampling and scaling effects when translating global from local diversity patterns during phylogeographic analyses.
PMCID: PMC3143044  PMID: 21712298
Anatolia; centre of origin; Pleistocene glaciations; chloroplast trnL-F; divergence times; alpine plants; Arabis alpina
25.  New Light on the Evolutionary History of the Common Goby (Pomatoschistus microps) with an Emphasis on Colonization Processes in the Mediterranean Sea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91576.
Through the study of the phylogeographic structure and demographic history of the common goby, Pomatoschistus microps, the influence of Quaternary climatic changes on the evolutionary history of coastal and marine fishes is investigated. Because of its sedentary life cycle in Mediterranean lagoons, it is also a good model to study more specifically if the formation of lagoons during the Holocene had an impact on population structure and demography. Mitochondrial sequences of Northeastern Atlantic and Western Mediterranean specimens were used for phylogenetic reconstructions as well as divergence time estimates, demographic history and population structure analyses. Pomatoschistus microps was a highly supported monophyletic clade including four lineages. It may have appeared 77,000 yr ago, and the divergence of its lineages likely occured shortly thereafter (between 61,000 and 54,000 yr). Most lineages had polytomic topologies, low nucleotide diversity and demographic analyses providing evidence of population expansion. Each lineage was characterized by a large number of private haplotypes. Most haplotypes found in Mediterranean localities were endemic, and one was dominant. Complex reticulated relationships connecting North European, Atlantic and Mediterranean haplotypes were observed. Moderate to high population structure was underlined. Contrary to previous published studies, no significant differentiation was observed between Atlantic and Mediterranean populations, indicating that the Gibraltar Strait is not a phylogeographic break for P. microps. Indeed, molecular dating combined with the tree topologies, phylogeographic and demographic analyses as well as high haplotype diversity underline a recent and rapid population divergence during the last glacial. However, population structure indicates that differentiation is an ongoing process. From an ancestral population trapped in the Atlantic, this goby colonized first northern Europe and later the Mediterranean Sea. Shared haplotypes could have dispersed in the western Mediterranean basin before the lagoon formation, while most private haplotypes, evidencing a recent isolation, probably diverged in lagoons after their closure.
PMCID: PMC3960122  PMID: 24646724

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