Turbellarian taxonomic database

Record # 23315
Brand JN, Viktorin G, Wiberg RAW, Beisel C, Schärer L (2022)
Large-scale phylogenomics of the genus Macrostomum (Platyhelminthes) reveals cryptic diversity and novel sexual traits.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 166: 107296
[doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2021.107296

Abstract / Notes

"Free-living flatworms of the genus Macrostomum are small and transparent animals, representing attractive
study organisms for a broad range of topics in evolutionary, developmental, and molecular biology. The genus
includes the model organism M. lignano for which extensive molecular resources are available, and recently
there is a growing interest in extending work to additional species in the genus. These endeavours are
currently hindered because, even though >200 Macrostomum species have been taxonomically described, molecular
phylogenetic information and geographic sampling remain limited. We report on a global sampling campaign aimed
at increasing taxon sampling and geographic representation of the genus. Specifically, we use extensive
transcriptome and single-locus data to generate phylogenomic hypotheses including 145 species. Across
different phylogenetic methods and alignments used, we identify several consistent clades, while their exact
grouping is less clear, possibly due to a radiation early in Macrostomum evolution. Moreover, we uncover a
large undescribed diversity, with 94 of the studied species likely being new to science, and we identify
multiple novel morphological traits. Furthermore, we identify cryptic speciation in a taxonomically
challenging assemblage of species, suggesting that the use of molecular markers is a prerequisite for future
work, and we describe the distribution of putative synapomorphies and suggest taxonomic revisions based on our
finding. Our large-scale phylogenomic dataset now provides a robust foundation for comparative analyses of
morphological, behavioural and molecular evolution in this genus."

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