Divergence time estimation using ddRAD data and an isolation-with-migration model applied to water vole populations of Arvicola



Molecular dating methods of population splits are crucial in evolutionary biology, but they present important difficulties due to the complexity of the genealogical relationships of genes and past migrations between populations. Using the double digest restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) technique and an isolation-with-migration (IM) model, we studied the evolutionary history of water vole populations of the genus Arvicola, a group of complex evolution with fossorial and semi-aquatic ecotypes. To do this, we first estimated mutation rates of ddRAD loci using a phylogenetic approach. An IM model was then used to estimate split times and other relevant demographic parameters. A set of 300 ddRAD loci that included 85 calibrated loci resulted in good mixing and model convergence. The results showed that the two populations of A. scherman present in the Iberian Peninsula split 34 thousand years ago, during the last glaciation. In addition, the much greater divergence from its sister species, A. amphibius, may help to clarify the controversial taxonomy of the genus. We conclude that this approach, based on ddRAD data and an IM model, is highly useful for analyzing the origin of populations and species.
Date made available15 Mar 2022

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