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Ecol Evol. 2017 Dec 21;8(2):1260-1270. doi: 10.1002/ece3.3728. eCollection 2018 Jan.

Interspecies introgressive hybridization in spiny frogs Quasipaa (Family Dicroglossidae) revealed by analyses on multiple mitochondrial and nuclear genes.

Zhang QP1,2, Hu WF1,2, Zhou TT1,2, Kong SS1,2, Liu ZF1,2, Zheng RQ1,2,3.

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Key Lab of Wildlife Biotechnology and Conservation and Utilization of Zhejiang Province Jinhua Zhejiang China.
Institute of Ecology Zhejiang Normal University Jinhua Zhejiang China.
Xingzhi College of Zhejiang Normal University Jinhua Zhejiang China.


Introgression may lead to discordant patterns of variation among loci and traits. For example, previous phylogeographic studies on the genus Quasipaa detected signs of genetic introgression from genetically and morphologically divergent Quasipaa shini or Quasipaa spinosa. In this study, we used mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data to verify the widespread introgressive hybridization in the closely related species of the genus Quasipaa, evaluate the level of genetic diversity, and reveal the formation mechanism of introgressive hybridization. In Longsheng, Guangxi Province, signs of asymmetrical nuclear introgression were detected between Quasipaa boulengeri and Q. shini. Unidirectional mitochondrial introgression was revealed from Q. spinosa to Q. shini. By contrast, bidirectional mitochondrial gene introgression was detected between Q. spinosa and Q. shini in Lushan, Jiangxi Province. Our study also detected ancient hybridizations between a female Q. spinosa and a male Q. jiulongensis in Zhejiang Province. Analyses on mitochondrial and nuclear genes verified three candidate cryptic species in Q. spinosa, and a cryptic species may also exist in Q. boulengeri. However, no evidence of introgressive hybridization was found between Q. spinosa and Q. boulengeri. Quasipaa exilispinosa from all the sampling localities appeared to be deeply divergent from other communities. Our results suggest widespread introgressive hybridization in closely related species of Quasipaa and provide a fundamental basis for illumination of the forming mechanism of introgressive hybridization, classification of species, and biodiversity assessment in Quasipaa.


Quasipaa; introgressive hybridization; mitochondrial DNA; nuclear DNA

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