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Cytogenet Genome Res. October 12, 2016;

Xenopus in Space and Time: Fossils, Node Calibrations, Tip-Dating, and Paleobiogeography.

Cannatella D .

Published data from DNA sequences, morphology of 11 extant and 15 extinct frog taxa, and stratigraphic ranges of fossils were integrated to open a window into the deep-time evolution of Xenopus. The ages and morphological characters of fossils were used as independent datasets to calibrate a chronogram. We found that DNA sequences, either alone or in combination with morphological data and fossils, tended to support a close relationship between Xenopus and Hymenochirus, although in some analyses this topology was not significantly better than the Pipa + Hymenochirus topology. Analyses that excluded DNA data found strong support for the Pipa + Hymenochirus tree. The criterion for selecting the maximum age of the calibration prior influenced the age estimates, and our age estimates of early divergences in the tree of frogs are substantially younger than those of published studies. Node-dating and tip-dating calibrations, either alone or in combination, yielded older dates for nodes than did a root calibration alone. Our estimates of divergence times indicate that overwater dispersal, rather than vicariance due to the splitting of Africa and South America, may explain the presence of Xenopus in Africa and its closest fossil relatives in South America. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.

PubMed ID: 26279165
Article link: Cytogenet Genome Res.

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