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Data from: Transcriptome sequencing and phylogenomic resolution within Spalacidae (Rodentia)

Cite this dataset

Lin, Gong-Hua et al. (2014). Data from: Transcriptome sequencing and phylogenomic resolution within Spalacidae (Rodentia) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Background: Subterranean mammals have been of great interest for evolutionary biologists because of their highly specialized traits for the life underground, however, the scarcity of genomic information limits our better understanding of their evolutionary history. Owing to the convergence of morphological traits and the incongruence of molecular data, the phylogenetic relationships among three subfamilies Myospalacinae (zokors), Spalacinae (blind mole rats) and Rhizomyinae (bamboo rats) within the family Spalacidae remain unresolved. Here, we performed de novo transcriptome sequencing of four RNA-seq libraries prepared from brain and liver tissues of a plateau zokor (Eospalax baileyi) and a hoary bamboo rat (Rhizomys pruinosus), and analyzed the transcriptome sequences alongside a published transcriptome of the Middle East blind mole rat (Spalax galili). We characterize the transcriptome assemblies of the two spalacids, and recover the phylogeny of the three subfamilies using a phylogenomic approach. Results: Approximately 50.3 million clean reads from the zokor and 140.8 million clean reads from the bamboo rat were generated by Illumina paired-end RNA-seq technology. All clean reads were assembled into 138,872 (the zokor) and 157,167 (the bamboo rat) unigenes, which were annotated by the public databases: the Swiss-prot, Trembl, NCBI non-redundant protein (NR), NCBI nucleotide sequence (NT), Gene Ontology (GO), Cluster of Orthologous Groups (COG), and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). A total of 5,116 nuclear orthologous genes were identified in the three spalacids and mouse, which was used as an outgroup. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a sister group relationship between the zokor and the bamboo rat, which is supported by the majority of gene trees inferred from individual orthologous genes, suggesting subfamily Myospalacinae is more closely related to subfamily Rhizomyinae. The same topology was recovered from combined sequences of concatenated sequences of 5,116 nuclear genes (5,541,534 bp in length), fourfold degenerate sites of the 5,116 nuclear genes (715,762 bp) and concatenated sequences of 13 protein coding mitochondrial genes (11,307 bp). In this topology, notably, the branch leading to subfamilies Myospalacinae and Rhizomyinae is remarkably short, indicative of a burst of speciation within the family Spalacidae. Conclusions: This is the first report of transcriptome data in zokors and bamboo rats, representing a valuable resource for future studies of comparative genomics in subterranean mammals. Phylogenomic analysis provides a conclusive resolution of interrelationships of the three subfamilies within the family Spalacidae, and highlights the power of phylogenomic approach to dissect the evolutionary history of rapid radiations in the tree of life.

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