To elucidate the effect of natural selection on the evolution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in Asiatic salamanders of the family Hynobiidae, nucleotide sequences of 12 protein-coding genes were analyzed. Using a mixed effects model of evolution, it was found that, in spite of the pronounced effect of negative selection on the mtDNA evolution in Hynobiidae (which is typical for the animals in general), two phylogenetic clusters, the West Asian one, represented by the genera Ranodon and Paradactylodon, and North Eurasian one, represented by the genus Salamandrella, were formed under the influence of episodic positive selection. Analysis of protein sequences encoded by the mitochondrial genome also supported the influence of positive selection on the evolution of Hynobiidae at some stages of their cladogenesis. It is suggested that the signatures of adaptive evolution detected in the mtDNA of Hynobiidae were determined by the complex and long-lasting history of their formation, accompanied by adaptation to the changing environment.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 4, 2014
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