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Creators/Authors contains: "Trefaut Rodrigues, Miguel"

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  1. Abstract

    The effects of genetic introgression on species boundaries and how they affect species’ integrity and persistence over evolutionary time have received increased attention. The increasing availability of genomic data has revealed contrasting patterns of gene flow across genomic regions, which impose challenges to inferences of evolutionary relationships and of patterns of genetic admixture across lineages. By characterizing patterns of variation across thousands of genomic loci in a widespread complex of true toads (Rhinella), we assess the true extent of genetic introgression across species thought to hybridize to extreme degrees based on natural history observations and multilocus analyses. Comprehensive geographic sampling of five large‐ranged Neotropical taxa revealed multiple distinct evolutionary lineages that span large geographic areas and, at times, distinct biomes. The inferred major clades and genetic clusters largely correspond to currently recognized taxa; however, we also found evidence of cryptic diversity within taxa. While previous phylogenetic studies revealed extensive mitonuclear discordance, our genetic clustering analyses uncovered several admixed individuals within major genetic groups. Accordingly, historical demographic analyses supported that the evolutionary history of these toads involved cross‐taxon gene flow both at ancient and recent times. Lastly, ABBA‐BABA tests revealed widespread allele sharing across species boundaries, a pattern that can be confidently attributed to genetic introgression as opposed to incomplete lineage sorting. These results confirm previous assertions that the evolutionary history ofRhinellawas characterized by various levels of hybridization even across environmentally heterogeneous regions, posing exciting questions about what factors prevent complete fusion of diverging yet highly interdependent evolutionary lineages.

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