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Open Access Research article

Phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of the genus Algansea Girard (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) of central Mexico inferred from molecular data

Rodolfo Pérez-Rodríguez12*, Omar Domínguez-Domínguez2, Gerardo Pérez Ponce de León3 and Ignacio Doadrio4

Author Affiliations

1 Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., México

2 Laboratorio de Biología Acuática, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México

3 Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Departamento de Zoología. Ap. Postal 70-153, C.P. 04510 México D.F., México

4 Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, c/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, E-28006 Madrid, España

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:223  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-223

Published: 7 September 2009

Abstract

Background

The genus Algansea is one of the most representative freshwater fish groups in central Mexico due to its wide geographic distribution and unusual level of endemicity. Despite the small number of species, this genus has had an unsettled taxonomic history due to high levels of intraspecific morphological variation. Moreover, several phylogenetic hypotheses among congeners have been proposed but have had the following shortcomings: the use of homoplasious morphological characters, the use of character codification and polarisation methods that lacked objectivity, and incomplete taxonomic sampling. In this study, a phylogenetic analysis among species of Algansea is presented. This analysis is based upon two molecular markers, the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b and the first intron of the ribosomal protein S7 gene.

Results

Bayesian analysis based on a combined matrix (cytochrome b and first intron S7) showed that Algansea is a monophyletic group and that Agosia chrysogaster is the sister group. Divergence times dated the origin of the genus around 16.6 MYA, with subsequent cladogenetic events occurring between 6.4 and 2.8 MYA. When mapped onto the molecular phylogenetic hypothesis, the character states of three morphological characters did not support previous hypotheses on the evolution of morphological traits in the genus Algansea, whereas the character states of the remaining six characters partially corroborated those hypotheses.

Conclusion

Monophyly of the genus Algansea was corroborated in this study. Tree topology shows the genus consists of three main lineages: Central-Eastern, Western, and Southern clades. However, the relationships among these clades remained unresolved. Congruence found between the available geological and climatic history and the divergence times made it possible to infer the biogeographical history of Algansea, which suggested that vicariance events were responsible for the evolutionary history of the genus. Interestingly, this pattern was shared with other members of the freshwater fish fauna of central Mexico. In addition, molecular data also show that some morphological traits alleged to represent synapomorphies in previous studies were actually homoplasies. Others traits were corroborated as synapomorphies, particularly in those species of a subgroup corresponding with the Central-Eastern clade within Algansea; this corroboration is interpreted as a result of evolutionary adaptations.