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DISTATIS: A Promising Framework to Integrate Distance Matrices in Molecular Phylogenetics

[ Vol. 21 , Issue. 7 ]

Author(s):

Guillermin Agüero-Chapin*, Yuliana Jiménez, Aminael Sánchez-Rodríguez*, Reinaldo Molina-Ruiz, Oscar Vivanco and Agostinho Antunes   Pages 599 - 611 ( 13 )

Abstract:


Background: Molecular phylogenetic algorithms frequently disagree with the approaches considering reproductive compatibility and morphological criteria for species delimitation. The question stems if the resulting species boundaries from molecular, reproductive and/or morphological data are definitively not reconcilable; or if the existing phylogenetic methods are not sensitive enough to agree morphological and genetic variation in species delimitation.

Objective: We propose DISTATIS as an integrative framework to combine alignment-based (AB) and alignment-free (AF) distance matrices from ITS2 sequences/structures to shed light whether Gelasinospora and Neurospora are sister but independent genera.

Methods: We aimed at addressing this standing issue by harmonizing genus-specific classification based on their ascospore morphology and ITS2 molecular data. To validate our proposal, three phylogenetic approaches: i) traditional alignment-based, ii) alignment-free and iii) novel distance integrative (DI)-based were comparatively evaluated on a set of Gelasinospora and Neurospora species. All considered species have been extensively characterized at both the morphological and reproductive levels and there are known incongruences between their ascospore morphology and molecular data that hampers genus-specific delimitation.

Results: Traditional AB phylogenetic analyses fail at resolving the Gelasinospora and Neurospora genera into independent monophyletic clades following ascospore morphology criteria. In contrast, AF and DI approaches produced phylogenetic trees that could properly delimit the expected monophyletic clades.

Conclusion: The DI approach outperformed the AF one in the sense that it could also divide the Neurospora species according to their reproduction mode.

Keywords:

Alignment-free, ITS2, DISTATIS, Ascospore morphology, Mating strategy, Phylogenetics.

Affiliation:

CIMAR/CIIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigacao Marinha e Ambiental & Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciencias, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Departamento de Quimica y Ciencias Exactas, Seccion de Fisicoquimica y Matematicas, Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja (UTPL), Loja, Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas, Seccion de Biotecnologia y Produccion, Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, Loja, Centro de Bioactivos Quimicos (CBQ), Universidad Central ¨Marta Abreu¨ de Las Villas, Santa Clara, Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas, Seccion de Biotecnologia y Produccion, Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, Loja, CIMAR/CIIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigacao Marinha e Ambiental & Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciencias, Universidade do Porto, Porto

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