Mitogenomic phylogenetic analyses of the Delphinidae with an emphasis on the Globicephalinae

Julia Vilstrup, Simon Ho, Andrew Foote, Phillip Morin, Danielle Kreb, Michael Krutzen, Guido Parra, Kelly Robertson, Renaud de Stephanis, Philippe Verborgh, Eske Willerslev, Ludovic Orlando, M Gilbert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background. Previous DNA-based phylogenetic studies of the Delphinidae family suggest it has undergone rapid diversification, as characterised by unresolved and poorly supported taxonomic relationships (polytomies) for some of the species within this group. Using an increased amount of sequence data we test between alternative hypotheses of soft polytomies caused by rapid speciation, slow evolutionary rate and/or insufficient sequence data, and hard polytomies caused by simultaneous speciation within this family. Combining the mitogenome sequences of five new and 12 previously published species within the Delphinidae, we used Bayesian and maximum-likelihood methods to estimate the phylogeny from partitioned and unpartitioned mitogenome sequences. Further ad hoc tests were then conducted to estimate the support for alternative topologies. Results. We found high support for all the relationships within our reconstructed phylogenies, and topologies were consistent between the Bayesian and maximum-likelihood trees inferred from partitioned and unpartitioned data. Resolved relationships included the placement of the killer whale (Orcinus orca) as sister taxon to the rest of the Globicephalinae subfamily, placement of the Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) within the Globicephalinae subfamily, removal of the white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) from the Delphininae subfamily and the placement of the rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) as sister taxon to the rest of the Delphininae subfamily rather than within the Globicephalinae subfamily. The additional testing of alternative topologies allowed us to reject all other putative relationships, with the exception that we were unable to reject the hypothesis that the relationship between L. albirostris and the Globicephalinae and Delphininae subfamilies was polytomic. Conclusion. Despite their rapid diversification, the increased sequence data yielded by mitogenomes enables the resolution of a strongly supported, bifurcating phylogeny, and a chronology of the divergences within the Delphinidae family. This highlights the benefits and potential application of large mitogenome datasets to resolve long-standing phylogenetic uncertainties.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number65
    Pages (from-to)65
    Number of pages11
    JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
    Volume11
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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