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, 65 (5), 824-42

Spatiotemporal Diversification of the True Frogs (Genus Rana): A Historical Framework for a Widely Studied Group of Model Organisms

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Spatiotemporal Diversification of the True Frogs (Genus Rana): A Historical Framework for a Widely Studied Group of Model Organisms

Zhi-Yong Yuan et al. Syst Biol.

Abstract

True frogs of the genus Rana are widely used as model organisms in studies of development, genetics, physiology, ecology, behavior, and evolution. Comparative studies among the more than 100 species of Rana rely on an understanding of the evolutionary history and patterns of diversification of the group. We estimate a well-resolved, time-calibrated phylogeny from sequences of six nuclear and three mitochondrial loci sampled from most species of Rana, and use that phylogeny to clarify the group's diversification and global biogeography. Our analyses consistently support an "Out of Asia" pattern with two independent dispersals of Rana from East Asia to North America via Beringian land bridges. The more species-rich lineage of New World Rana appears to have experienced a rapid radiation following its colonization of the New World, especially with its expansion into montane and tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, and South America. In contrast, Old World Rana exhibit different trajectories of diversification; diversification in the Old World began very slowly and later underwent a distinct increase in speciation rate around 29-18 Ma. Net diversification is associated with environmental changes and especially intensive tectonic movements along the Asian margin from the Oligocene to early Miocene. Our phylogeny further suggests that previous classifications were misled by morphological homoplasy and plesiomorphic color patterns, as well as a reliance primarily on mitochondrial genes. We provide a phylogenetic taxonomy based on analyses of multiple nuclear and mitochondrial gene loci. [Amphibians; biogeography; diversification rate; Holarctic; transcontinental dispersal.

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