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Data from: Using ultraconserved elements to reconstruct the termite tree of life


Hellemans, Simon et al. (2022), Data from: Using ultraconserved elements to reconstruct the termite tree of life, Dryad, Dataset,


The phylogenetic history of termites has been investigated using mitochondrial genomes and transcriptomes. However, both sets of markers have specific limitations. Mitochondrial genomes represent a single genetic marker likely to yield phylogenetic trees presenting incongruences with species trees, and transcriptomes can only be obtained from well-preserved samples. In contrast, ultraconserved elements (UCEs) include a great many independent markers that can be retrieved from poorly preserved samples. Here, we designed termite-specific baits targeting 50,616 UCE loci. We tested our UCE bait set on 42 samples of termites and three samples of Cryptocercus, for which we generated low-coverage highly-fragmented genome assemblies and successfully extracted in silico between 3,426 to 42,860 non-duplicated UCEs per sample. Our maximum likelihood phylogenetic tree, reconstructed using the 5,934 UCE loci retrieved from upward of 75% of samples, was congruent with transcriptome-based phylogenies, demonstrating that our UCE bait set is reliable and phylogenetically informative. Combined with non-destructive DNA extraction protocols, our UCE bait set provides the tool needed to carry out a global taxonomic revision of termites based on poorly preserved specimens such as old museum samples. The Termite UCE database is maintained at:


Grantová Agentura České Republiky, Award: 15-07015Y

Česká Zemědělská Univerzita v Praze, Award: 20213112

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Award: 19F19819

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Award: core funding