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  1. Abstract

    The mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) of bilaterian animals are highly conserved structures that usually consist of a single circular chromosome. However, several species of parasitic lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) possess fragmented mitogenomes, where the mitochondrial genes are present on separate, circular chromosomes. Nevertheless, the extent, causes, and consequences of this structural variation remain poorly understood. Here, we combined new and existing data to better understand the evolution of mitogenome fragmentation in major groups of parasitic lice. We found strong evidence that fragmented mitogenomes evolved many times within parasitic lice and that the level of fragmentation is highly variable, including examples of heteroplasmic arrangements. We also found a significant association between mitochondrial fragmentation and signatures of relaxed selection. Mitochondrial fragmentation was also associated with changes to a lower AT%, possibly due to differences in mutation biases. Together, our results provide a significant advance in understanding the process of mitogenome fragmentation and provide an important perspective on mitochondrial evolution in eukaryotes.

  2. Abstract

    Organisms vary in their dispersal abilities, and these differences can have important biological consequences, such as impacting the likelihood of hybridization events. However, there is still much to learn about the factors influencing hybridization, and specifically how dispersal ability affects the opportunities for hybridization. Here, using the ecological replicate system of dove wing and body lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera), we show that species with higher dispersal abilities exhibited increased genomic signatures of introgression. Specifically, we found a higher proportion of introgressed genomic reads and more reticulated phylogenetic networks in wing lice, the louse group with higher dispersal abilities. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that differences in dispersal ability might drive the extent of introgression through hybridization.

  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  4. Mammals host a wide diversity of parasites. Lice, comprising more than 5,000 species, are one group of ectoparasites whose major lineages have a somewhat patchwork distribution across the major groups of mammals. Here we explored patterns in the diversification of mammalian lice by reconstructing a higher-level phylogeny of these lice, leveraging whole genome sequence reads to assemble single-copy orthologue genes across the genome. The evolutionary tree of lice indicated that three of the major lineages of placental mammal lice had a single common ancestor. Comparisons of this parasite phylogeny with that for their mammalian hosts indicated that the common ancestor of elephants, elephant shrews and hyraxes (that is, Afrotheria) was the ancestral host of this group of lice. Other groups of placental mammals obtained their lice via host-switching out of these Afrotherian ancestors. In addition, reconstructions of the ancestral host group (bird versus mammal) for all parasitic lice supported an avian ancestral host, indicating that the ancestor of Afrotheria acquired these parasites via host-switching from an ancient avian host. These results shed new light on the long-standing question of why the major groups of parasitic lice are not uniformly distributed across mammals and reveal the origins of mammalian lice.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 4, 2023
  5. Yoshizawa, Kazunori (Ed.)
    Abstract The order Psocodea includes the two historically recognized groups Psocoptera (free-living bark lice) and Phthiraptera (parasitic lice) that were once considered separate orders. Psocodea is divided in three suborders: Trogiomorpha, Troctomorpha, and Psocomorpha, the latter being the largest within the free-living groups. Despite the increasing number of transcriptomes and whole genome sequence (WGS) data available for this group, the relationships among the six known infraorders within Psocomorpha remain unclear. Here, we evaluated the utility of a bait set designed specifically for parasitic lice belonging to suborder Troctomorpha to extract UCE loci from transcriptome and WGS data of 55 bark louse species and explored the phylogenetic relationships within Psocomorpha using these UCE loci markers. Taxon sampling was heavily focused on the families Lachesillidae and Elipsocidae, whose relationships have been problematic in prior phylogenetic studies. We successfully recovered a total of 2,622 UCE loci, with a 40% completeness matrix containing 2,081 UCE loci and an 80% completeness matrix containing 178 UCE loci. The average number of UCE loci recovered for the 55 species was 1,401. The WGS data sets produced a larger number of UCE loci (1,495) on average than the transcriptome data sets (972). Phylogenetic relationships reconstructed with Maximum Likelihoodmore »and coalescent-based analysis were concordant regarding the paraphyly of Lachesillidae and Elipsocidae. Branch support values were generally lower in analyses that used a fewer number of loci, even though they had higher matrix completeness.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  6. Adaptive radiation is an important mechanism of organismal diversification and can be triggered by new ecological opportunities. Although poorly studied in this regard, parasites are an ideal group in which to study adaptive radiations because of their close associations with host species. Both experimental and comparative studies suggest that the ectoparasitic wing lice of pigeons and doves have adaptively radiated, leading to differences in body size and overall coloration. Here, we show that long-distance dispersal by dove hosts was central to parasite diversification because it provided new ecological opportunities for parasites to speciate after host-switching. We further show that among extant parasite lineages host-switching decreased over time, with cospeciation becoming the more dominant mode of parasite speciation. Taken together, our results suggest that host dispersal, followed by host-switching, provided novel ecological opportunities that facilitated adaptive radiation by parasites.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 9, 2023
  7. null (Ed.)
  8. Buckley, Thomas (Ed.)
    Abstract The insect order Psocodea is a diverse lineage comprising both parasitic (Phthiraptera) and nonparasitic members (Psocoptera). The extreme age and ecological diversity of the group may be associated with major genomic changes, such as base compositional biases expected to affect phylogenetic inference. Divergent morphology between parasitic and nonparasitic members has also obscured the origins of parasitism within the order. We conducted a phylogenomic analysis on the order Psocodea utilizing both transcriptome and genome sequencing to obtain a data set of 2370 orthologous genes. All phylogenomic analyses, including both concatenated and coalescent methods suggest a single origin of parasitism within the order Psocodea, resolving conflicting results from previous studies. This phylogeny allows us to propose a stable ordinal level classification scheme that retains significant taxonomic names present in historical scientific literature and reflects the evolution of the group as a whole. A dating analysis, with internal nodes calibrated by fossil evidence, suggests an origin of parasitism that predates the K-Pg boundary. Nucleotide compositional biases are detected in third and first codon positions and result in the anomalous placement of the Amphientometae as sister to Psocomorpha when all nucleotide sites are analyzed. Likelihood-mapping and quartet sampling methods demonstrate that base compositionalmore »biases can also have an effect on quartet-based methods.[Illumina; Phthiraptera; Psocoptera; quartet sampling; recoding methods.]« less
  9. Wilkerson, Richard (Ed.)
    Abstract The Philopterus Complex includes several lineages of lice that occur on birds. The complex includes the genera Philopterus (Nitzsch, 1818; Psocodea: Philopteridae), Philopteroides (Mey, 2004; Psocodea: Philopteridae), and many other lineages that have sometimes been regarded as separate genera. Only a few studies have investigated the phylogeny of this complex, all of which are based on morphological data. Here we evaluate the utility of nuclear and mitochondrial loci for recovering the phylogeny within this group. We obtained phylogenetic trees from 39 samples of the Philopterus Complex (Psocodea: Philopteridae), using sequences of two nuclear (hyp and TMEDE6) and one mitochondrial (COI) marker. We evaluated trees derived from these genes individually as well as from concatenated sequences. All trees show 20 clearly demarcated taxa (i.e., putative species) divided into five well-supported clades. Percent sequence divergence between putative species (~5–30%) for the COI gene tended to be much higher than those for the nuclear genes (~1–15%), as expected. In cases where species are described, the lineages identified based on molecular divergence correspond to morphologically defined species. In some cases, species that are host generalists exhibit additional underlying genetic variation and such cases need to be explored by further future taxonomic revisions ofmore »the Philopterus Complex.« less