The dynamic evolutionary history of genome size in North American woodland salamanders
© 2017 Published by NRC Research Press. The genus Plethodon is the most species-rich salamander genus in North America, and nearly half of its species face an uncertain future. It is also one of the most diverse families in terms of genome sizes, which range from 1C = 18.2 to 69.3 pg, or 5-20 times larger than the human genome. Large genome size in salamanders results in part from accumulation of transposable elements and is associated with various developmental and physiological traits. However, genome sizes have been reported for only 25% of the species of Plethodon (14 of 55). We collected genome size data for Plethodon serratus to supplement an ongoing phylogeographic study, reconstructed the evolutionary history of genome size in Plethodontidae, and inferred probable genome sizes for the 41 species missing empirical data. Results revealed multiple genome size changes in Plethodon: genomes of western Plethodon increased, whereas genomes of eastern Plethodon decreased, followed by additional decreases or subsequent increases. The estimated genome size of P. serratus was 21 pg. New understanding of variation in genome size evolution, along with genome size inferences for previously unstudied taxa, provide a foundation for future studies on the biology of plethodontid salamanders.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Newman, C., Gregory, T., & Austin, C. (2017). The dynamic evolutionary history of genome size in North American woodland salamanders. Genome, 60 (4), 285-292. https://doi.org/10.1139/gen-2016-0166