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Population genomics of wall lizards reflects the dynamic history of the Mediterranean Basin


Yang, W and Feiner, N and Salvi, D and Laakkonen, H and Jablonski, D and Pinho, C and Carretero, MA and Sacchi, R and Zuffi, MAL and Scali, S and Plavos, K and Pafilis, P and Poulakakis, N and Lymberakis, P and Jandzik, D and Schulte, U and Aubret, F and Badiane, A and Perez i de Lanuza, G and Abalos, J and While, GM and Uller, T, Population genomics of wall lizards reflects the dynamic history of the Mediterranean Basin, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 39, (1) Article msab311. ISSN 0737-4038 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI: doi:10.1093/molbev/msab311


The Mediterranean Basin has experienced extensive change in geology and climate over the past six million years. Yet, the relative importance of key geological events for the distribution and genetic structure of the Mediterranean fauna remains poorly understood. Here, we use population genomic and phylogenomic analyses to establish the evolutionary history and genetic structure of common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis). This species is particularly informative because, in contrast to other Mediterranean lizards, it is widespread across the Iberian, Italian, and Balkan Peninsulas, and in extra-Mediterranean regions. We found strong support for six major lineages within P. muralis, which were largely discordant with the phylogenetic relationship of mitochondrial DNA. The most recent common ancestor of extant P. muralis was likely distributed in the Italian Peninsula, and experienced an "Out-of-Italy" expansion following the Messinian salinity crisis (∼5 Mya), resulting in the differentiation into the extant lineages on the Iberian, Italian, and Balkan Peninsulas. Introgression analysis revealed that both inter- and intraspecific gene flows have been pervasive throughout the evolutionary history of P. muralis. For example, the Southern Italy lineage has a hybrid origin, formed through admixture between the Central Italy lineage and an ancient lineage that was the sister to all other P. muralis. More recent genetic differentiation is associated with the onset of the Quaternary glaciations, which influenced population dynamics and genetic diversity of contemporary lineages. These results demonstrate the pervasive role of Mediterranean geology and climate for the evolutionary history and population genetic structure of extant species.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:phylogeography, phylogenomics, introgression, refugia, glaciation, Messinian salinity crisis
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biogeography and phylogeography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
ID Code:149380
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2022-03-28
Last Modified:2022-05-26
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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