Using next-generation sequencing data to estimate ploidy level and access cyto-nuclear genomic variability of a neotropical species complex of unisexual lizards (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae: Loxopholis)
Neotropical lizards from Loxopholis percarinatum (s.n. Leposoma percarinatum) complex are intriguing because they present a unisexual reproductive mode, including individuals with dif-ferent ploidy numbers (2n and 3n). The origin and impacts of sex-independent reproduction and the increase of ploidy has long been fascinating evolutionary biologists. With the post-doctoral project (#2016/03146-4), we have been investigating the mechanisms behind the origin of par-thenogenesis in L. percarinatum, and addressing their ecological and biogeographic impacts. For that, we have been performing a set of Ecological Niche Modeling analyses and combining these data with the phylogenetic history. Our first results clarified the type and species involved in the origin of parthenogenesis in Loxopholis. Additionally, we also find signs of recent hybrid-ization between parthenogenetic females and males from one of the progenitor species in a sympatric region located in the west of the Rio Negro. Although both results are unpublished, they also brought some challenges, described in the second project report, related with the ploidy and genetic variability of individuals. To solve that, in this project we propose to collect and process a large number of nuclear markers through a genome-wide association study, using Restriction site-associated DNA sequencing in the Dr. Matthew Fujita laboratory, University of Texas at Arlington, United States. To take advantage of the internship, additionally, we will also gather mitochondrial genomic data to study the organelle molecular evolution of. L. percarinatum complex. Finally, these data will allow us to robstly validate the ancestry of the L. percarinatum complex and perform more precisely the ecological niche comparison proposed in the initial project.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: