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Sequence capture and next‐generation sequencing of ultraconserved elements in a large‐genome salamander
- Newman, Catherine E., Austin, Christopher C.
- Molecular ecology 2016 v.25 no.24 pp. 6162-6174
- Plethodon, cryptic species, data collection, genome, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, humans, models, phylogeny, phylogeography, salamanders and newts, Louisiana
- Amidst the rapid advancement in next‐generation sequencing (NGS) technology over the last few years, salamanders have been left behind. Salamanders have enormous genomes—up to 40 times the size of the human genome—and this poses challenges to generating NGS data sets of quality and quantity similar to those of other vertebrates. However, optimization of laboratory protocols is time‐consuming and often cost prohibitive, and continued omission of salamanders from novel phylogeographic research is detrimental to species facing decline. Here, we use a salamander endemic to the southeastern United States, Plethodon serratus, to test the utility of an established protocol for sequence capture of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) in resolving intraspecific phylogeographic relationships and delimiting cryptic species. Without modifying the standard laboratory protocol, we generated a data set consisting of over 600 million reads for 85 P. serratus samples. Species delimitation analyses support recognition of seven species within P. serratus sensu lato, and all phylogenetic relationships among the seven species are fully resolved under a coalescent model. Results also corroborate previous data suggesting nonmonophyly of the Ouachita and Louisiana regions. Our results demonstrate that established UCE protocols can successfully be used in phylogeographic studies of salamander species, providing a powerful tool for future research on evolutionary history of amphibians and other organisms with large genomes.