Publication

Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds.

Science. 2014 Dec 12;346(6215):1320-31. doi: 10.1126/science.1253451.

Abstract

To better determine the history of modern birds, we performed a genome-scale phylogenetic analysis of 48 species representing all orders of Neoaves using phylogenomic methods created to handle genome-scale data. We recovered a highly resolved tree that confirms previously controversial sister or close relationships. We identified the first divergence in Neoaves, two groups we named Passerea and Columbea, representing independent lineages of diverse and convergently evolved land and water bird species. Among Passerea, we infer the common ancestor of core landbirds to have been an apex predator and confirm independent gains of vocal learning. Among Columbea, we identify pigeons and flamingoes as belonging to sister clades. Even with whole genomes, some of the earliest branches in Neoaves proved challenging to resolve, which was best explained by massive protein-coding sequence convergence and high levels of incomplete lineage sorting that occurred during a rapid radiation after the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event about 66 million years ago.

Authors

Jarvis ED, Mirarab S, Aberer AJ, Li B, Houde P, Li C, Ho SY, Faircloth BC, Nabholz B, Howard JT, Suh A, Weber CC, da Fonseca RR, Li J, Zhang F, Li H1, Zhou L, Narula N, Liu L, Ganapathy G, Boussau B, Bayzid MS, Zavidovych V, Subramanian S, Gabaldon T, Capella-Gutierrez S, Huerta-Cepas J, Rekepalli B, Munch K, Schierup M, Lindow B, Warren WC, Ray D, Green RE, Bruford MW, Zhan X, Dixon A, Li S, Li N, Huang Y, Derryberry EP, Bertelsen MF, Sheldon FH, Brumfield RT, Mello CV, Lovell PV, Wirthlin M, Schneider MP, Prosdocimi F, Samaniego JA, Vargas Velazquez AM, Alfaro-Nunez A, Campos PF, Petersen B, Sicheritz-Ponten T, Pas A, Bailey T, Scofield P, Bunce M, Lambert DM, Zhou Q, Perelman P, Driskell AC, Shapiro B, Xiong Z, Zeng Y, Liu S, Li Z, Liu B, Wu K, Xiao J, Yinqi X, Zheng Q, Zhang Y, Yang H, Wang J, Smeds L, Rheindt FE, Braun M, Fjeldsa J, Orlando L, Barker FK, Jonsson KA, Johnson W, Koepfli KP, O'Brien S, Haussler D, Ryder OA, Rahbek C, Willerslev E, Graves GR, Glenn TC, McCormack J, Burt D, Ellegren H, Alstrom P, Edwards SV, Stamatakis A, Mindell DP, Cracraft J, Braun EL, Warnow T, Jun W, Gilbert MT, Zhang G.

Institute Authors

Wes Warren, Ph.D.