How discordant morphological and molecular evolution among microorganisms can revise our notions of biodiversity on Earth.

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TitleHow discordant morphological and molecular evolution among microorganisms can revise our notions of biodiversity on Earth.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLahr, DJG, Laughinghouse, HDail, Oliverio, AM, Gao, F, Katz, LA
JournalBioessays
Volume36
Issue10
Pagination950-9
Date Published2014 Oct
ISSN1521-1878
KeywordsBacteria, Biodiversity, Earth (Planet), Evolution, Molecular, Humans, Phylogeny
Abstract

Microscopy has revealed tremendous diversity of bacterial and eukaryotic forms. Recent molecular analyses show discordance in estimates of biodiversity between morphological and molecular analyses. Moreover, phylogenetic analyses of the diversity of microbial forms reveal evidence of convergence at scales as deep as interdomain: morphologies shared between bacteria and eukaryotes. Here, we highlight examples of such discordance, focusing on exemplary lineages such as testate amoebae, ciliates, and cyanobacteria. These have long histories of morphological study, enabling deeper analyses on both the molecular and morphological sides. We discuss examples in two main categories: (i) morphologically identical (or highly similar) individuals that are genetically distinct and (ii) morphologically distinct individuals that are genetically the same. We argue that hypotheses about discordance can be tested using the concept of neutral morphologies, or more broadly neutral phenotypes, as a null hypothesis.

DOI10.1002/bies.201400056
Alternate JournalBioessays
PubMed ID25156897
PubMed Central IDPMC4288574
Grant List1R15GM097722-01 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
R15 GM097722 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States