Speciation in the Rana chensinensis species complex and its relationship to the uplift of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau

Authors

  • WEI-WEI ZHOU,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
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  • YANG WEN,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
    2. College of Life Sciences, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
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  • JINZHONG FU,

    1. Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1
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  • YONG-BIAO XU,

    1. Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
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  • JIE-QIONG JIN,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
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  • LI DING,

    1. Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China
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  • MI-SOOK MIN,

    1. BK21 Program for Veterinary Science and Conservation Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife (CGRB), College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
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  • JING CHE,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
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  • YA-PING ZHANG

    1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
    2. Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
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Prof Ya-Ping Zhang, Fax: 86 871 5195430; E-mail: zhangyp@mail.kiz.ac.cn; and Dr. Jing Che, Fax: 86 871 5133185; E-mail: chej@mail.kiz.ac.cn

Abstract

Speciation remains a fundamental issue in biology. Herein, we report an investigation into speciation in the Rana chensinensis species complex using DNA sequence data from one mitochondrial and five nuclear genes. A phylogenetic analysis of the data revealed four major clades in the complex, and each of them was found to likely represent a species, including one cryptic species. Ecological niche models were generated from 19 climatic variables for three of the four major clades, which were represented by widespread sampling, including R. chensinensis, Rana kukunoris and the potential cryptic species. Each clade is associated with a unique ecological unit, and this indicates that ecological divergence probably drove speciation. Ecological divergence is likely related to the late Cenozoic orogenesis of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. In addition, gene flow between species was detected but only in peripheral portions of the ranges of the four major clades, thus likely had little influence on the speciation processes. Discordances between mitochondrial and nuclear genes were also found; the nominal species, R. chensinensis, contains multiple maternal clades, suggesting potential mitochondrial introgression between R. chensinensis and R. kukunoris.

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