Evolutionary origins of viviparity consistent with palaeoclimate and lineage diversification

Recknagel, H. , Kamenos, N. A. and Elmer, K. R. (2021) Evolutionary origins of viviparity consistent with palaeoclimate and lineage diversification. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 34(7), pp. 1167-1176. (doi: 10.1111/jeb.13886) (PMID:34107111)

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It is of fundamental importance for the field of evolutionary biology to understand when and why major evolutionary transitions occur. Live-bearing young (viviparity) is a major evolutionary change and has evolved from egg-laying (oviparity) independently in many vertebrate lineages and most abundantly in lizards and snakes. While contemporary viviparous squamate species generally occupy cold climatic regions across the globe, it is not known whether viviparity evolved as a response to cold-climate in the first place. Here, we used available published time-calibrated squamate phylogenies and parity data on 3498 taxa. We compared the accumulation of transitions from oviparity to viviparity relative to background diversification and a simulated binary trait. Extracting the date of each transition in the phylogenies and informed by 65 my of global palaeoclimatic data, we tested the nonexclusive hypotheses that viviparity evolved under: i) cold, and ii) long-term stable climatic conditions, and iii) with background diversification rate. We show that stable and long-lasting cold climatic conditions are correlated with the transitions to viviparity across squamates. This correlation of parity mode and palaeoclimate is mirrored by background diversification in squamates, and simulations of a binary trait also showed a similar association with palaeoclimate, meaning that trait evolution cannot be separated from squamate lineage diversification. We suggest that these trait transitions depend on environmental and intrinsic effects, and that background diversification rate may be a factor in trait diversification more generally.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamenos, Professor Nick and Elmer, Professor Kathryn and Recknagel, Mr Hans
Authors: Recknagel, H., Kamenos, N. A., and Elmer, K. R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Evolutionary Biology
ISSN (Online):1420-9101
Published Online:09 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Evolutionary Biology 34(7): 1167-1176
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172352From egg-laying to live-bearing: Unravelling the genetics of a major evolutionary transitionKathryn ElmerNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/N003942/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine