3 years ago

Phylogenomic analyses of 539 highly informative loci dates a fully resolved time tree for the major clades of living turtles (Testudines)

Phylogenomic analyses of 539 highly informative loci dates a fully resolved time tree for the major clades of living turtles (Testudines)
Accurate time-calibrated phylogenies are the centerpiece of many macroevolutionary studies, and the relationship between the size and scale of molecular data sets and the density and accuracy of fossil calibrations is a key element of time tree studies. Here, we develop a target capture array specifically for living turtles, compare its efficiency to an ultraconserved element (UCE) dataset, and present a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny based on 539 nuclear loci sequenced from 26 species representing the breadth of living turtle diversity plus outgroups. Our gene array, based on three fully sequenced turtle genomes, is 2.4 times more variable across turtles than a recently published UCE data set for an identical subset of 13 species, confirming that taxon-specific arrays return more informative data per sequencing effort than UCEs. We used our genomic data to estimate the ages of living turtle clades including a mid-late Triassic origin for crown turtles and a mid-Carboniferous split of turtles from their sister group, Archosauria. By specifically excluding several of the earliest potential crown turtle fossils and limiting the age of fossil calibration points to the unambiguous crown lineage Caribemys oxfordiensis from the Late Jurassic (Oxfordian, 163.5–157.3Ma) we corroborate a relatively ancient age for living turtles. We also provide novel age estimates for five of the ten testudine families containing more than a single species, as well as several intrafamilial clades. Most of the diversity of crown turtles appears to date to the Paleogene, well after the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction 66mya.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1055790317305110

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