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  1. Using presence/absence data from over 10,000 Ves SINE insertions, we reconstructed a phylogeny for 11 Myotis species. With nearly one-third of individual Ves gene trees discordant with the overall species tree, phylogenetic conflict appears to be rampant in this genus. From the observed conflict, we infer that ILS is likely a major contributor to the discordance. Much of the discordance can be attributed to the hypothesized split between the Old World and New World Myotis clades and with the first radiation of Myotis within the New World. Quartet asymmetry tests reveal signs of introgression between Old and New World taxa that may have persisted until approximately 8 MYA. Our introgression tests also revealed evidence of both historic and more recent, perhaps even contemporary, gene flow among Myotis species of the New World. Our findings suggest that hybridization likely played an important role in the evolutionary history of Myotis and may still be happening in areas of sympatry. Despite limitations arising from extreme discordance, our SINE-based phylogeny better resolved deeper relationships (particularly the positioning of M. brandtii) and was able to identify potential introgression pathways among the Myotis species sampled.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. Relationships among laurasiatherian clades represent one of the most highly disputed topics in mammalian phylogeny. In this study, we attempt to disentangle laurasiatherian interordinal relationships using two independent genome-level approaches: (1) quantifying retrotransposon presence/absence patterns, and (2) comparisons of exon datasets at the levels of nucleotides and amino acids. The two approaches revealed contradictory phylogenetic signals, possibly due to a high level of ancestral incomplete lineage sorting. The positions of Eulipotyphla and Chiroptera as the first and second earliest divergences were consistent across the approaches. However, the phylogenetic relationships of Perissodactyla, Cetartiodactyla, and Ferae, were contradictory. While retrotransposon insertion analyses suggest a clade with Cetartiodactyla and Ferae, the exon dataset favoured Cetartiodactyla and Perissodactyla. Future analyses of hitherto unsampled laurasiatherian lineages and synergistic analyses of retrotransposon insertions, exon and conserved intron/intergenic sequences might unravel the conflicting patterns of relationships in this major mammalian clade.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Bauer, Silke (Ed.)
  4. Abstract Transposable elements (TEs) play major roles in the evolution of genome structure and function. However, because of their repetitive nature, they are difficult to annotate and discovering the specific roles they may play in a lineage can be a daunting task. Heliconiine butterflies are models for the study of multiple evolutionary processes including phenotype evolution and hybridization. We attempted to determine how TEs may play a role in the diversification of genomes within this clade by performing a detailed examination of TE content and accumulation in 19 species whose genomes were recently sequenced. We found that TE content has diverged substantially and rapidly in the time since several subclades shared a common ancestor with each lineage harboring a unique TE repertoire. Several novel SINE lineages have been established that are restricted to a subset of species. Furthermore, the previously described SINE, Metulj, appears to have gone extinct in two subclades while expanding to significant numbers in others. This diversity in TE content and activity has the potential to impact how heliconiine butterflies continue to evolve and diverge.