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Morphological vs. molecular evolution: ecology and phylogeny both shape the mandible of rodents

Abstract : What actually is the expected pattern relating to molecular and morphological divergence? A phylogenetic correlation is expected; however, natural selection may force morphological evolution away from this expected correlation. To assess this relationship and the way it is modulated by selection, we investigated the radiation of the murine rodents, also called as Old World rats and mice. Regarding their diet, they are diversified as they include many omnivorous as well as specialist taxa. The size and shape of the mandible, a morphological character involved in the feeding process, was quantified and compared with an estimate of molecular divergence based on interphotoreceptor retinoid binding protein (IRBP) sequences. Size and shape of the mandible appeared to be related by an allometric relationship whatever the ecology of the taxa. Small size characterizes most murines, causing a dominance of low size distances; still, the frequency of important size differentiation increases with molecular distances. Regarding shape changes, the pattern is much contrasted between omnivores and specialists. A pattern of phenotypic drift characterizes the mandible evolution of taxa sharing an omnivorous diet. Little saturation occurs over more than 10 million years with regard to the shape of the mandible that appears as a valuable marker of phylogenetic history in this context. In contrast, important morphological distances can occur when specialist taxa are involved, even when the molecular divergence is small. Ecological specialization thus triggers an uncoupling of molecular and phenotypic evolution, and the departure from a phenotypic drift pattern.
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Contributor : Doriane Gabrielli Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 3:20:43 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 10:38:14 AM

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Sabrina Renaud, Pascale Chevret, Jacques Michaux. Morphological vs. molecular evolution: ecology and phylogeny both shape the mandible of rodents. Zoologica Scripta, Wiley, 2007, 36, pp.525-535. ⟨10.1111/j.1463-6409.2007.00297.x⟩. ⟨hal-00294823⟩



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