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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2012 Sep;64(3):533-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 May 24.

Monophyly, divergence times, and evolution of host plant use inferred from a revised phylogeny of the Drosophila repleta species group.

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Departamento de Genética y Microbiología, Universidad Autonóma de Barcelona, Bellaterra BCN 08193, Spain.


We present a revised molecular phylogeny of the Drosophila repleta group including 62 repleta group taxa and nine outgroup species based on four mitochondrial and six nuclear DNA sequence fragments. With ca. 100 species endemic to the New World, the repleta species group represents one of the major species radiations in the genus Drosophila. Most repleta group species are associated with cacti in arid or semiarid regions. Contrary to previous results, maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenies of the 10-gene dataset strongly support the monophyly of the repleta group. Several previously described subdivisions in the group were also recovered, despite poorly resolved relationships between these clades. Divergence time estimates suggested that the repleta group split from its sister group about 21millionyears ago (Mya), although diversification of the crown group began ca. 16Mya. Character mapping of patterns of host plant use showed that flat leaf Opuntia use is common throughout the phylogeny and that shifts in host use from Opuntia to the more chemically complex columnar cacti occurred several times independently during the history of this group. Although some species retained the use of Opuntia after acquiring the use of columnar cacti, there were multiple, phylogenetically independent instances of columnar cactus specialization with loss of Opuntia as a host. Concordant with our proposed timing of host use shifts, these dates are consistent with the suggested times when the Opuntioideae originated in South America. We discuss the generally accepted South American origin of the repleta group.

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