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Rapid radiation and rampant reticulation: Phylogenomics of South American Liolaemus lizards


Esquerre, Damien et al. (2021), Rapid radiation and rampant reticulation: Phylogenomics of South American Liolaemus lizards, Dryad, Dataset,


Understanding the factors that cause heterogeneity among gene trees can increase the accuracy of species trees. Discordant signals across the genome are commonly produced by incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and introgression, which in turn can result in reticulate evolution. Species tree inference using the multispecies coalescent is designed to deal with ILS and is robust to low levels of introgression, but extensive introgression violates the fundamental assumption that relationships are strictly bifurcating. In this study, we explore the phylogenomics of the iconic Liolaemus subgenus of South American lizards, a group of over 100 species mostly distributed in and around the Andes mountains. Using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and genome-wide restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADseq; nDNA hereafter), we inferred a time-calibrated mtDNA gene tree, nDNA species trees, and phylogenetic networks. We found high levels of discordance between mtDNA and nDNA, which we attribute in part to extensive ILS resulting from rapid diversification. These data also reveal extensive and deep introgression, which combined with rapid diversification, explain the high level of phylogenetic discordance. We discuss these findings in the context of Andean orogeny and glacial cycles that fragmented, expanded, and contracted species distributions. Finally, we use the new phylogeny to resolve long-standing taxonomic issues in one of the most studied lizard groups in the New World.