BackgroundTools for high throughput sequencing and de novo assembly make the analysis of transcriptomes (i.e. the suite of genes expressed in a tissue) feasible for almost any organism. Yet a challenge for biologists is that it can be difficult to assign identities to gene sequences, especially from non-model organisms. Phylogenetic analyses are one useful method for assigning identities to these sequences, but such methods tend to be time-consuming because of the need to re-calculate trees for every gene of interest and each time a new data set is analyzed. In response, we employed existing tools for phylogenetic analysis to produce a computationally efficient, tree-based approach for annotating transcriptomes or new genomes that we term Phylogenetically-Informed Annotation (PIA), which places uncharacterized genes into pre-calculated phylogenies of gene families.ResultsWe generated maximum likelihood trees for 109 genes from a Light Interaction Toolkit (LIT), a collection of genes that underlie the function or development of light-interacting structures in metazoans. To do so, we searched protein sequences predicted from 30 fully-sequenced genomes and built trees using tools for phylogenetic analysis in the Osiris package of Galaxy (an open-source workflow management system). Next, to rapidly annotate transcriptomes from organisms that lack sequenced genomes, we repurposed a maximum likelihood-based Evolutionary Placement Algorithm (implemented in RAxML) to place sequences of potential LIT genes on to our pre-calculated gene trees. Finally, we implemented PIA in Galaxy and used it to search for LIT genes in 28 newly-sequenced transcriptomes from the light-interacting tissues of a range of cephalopod mollusks, arthropods, and cubozoan cnidarians. Our new trees for LIT genes are available on the Bitbucket public repository (http://bitbucket.org/osiris_phylogenetics/pia/) and we demonstrate PIA on a publicly-accessible web server (http://galaxy-dev.cnsi.ucsb.edu/pia/).ConclusionsOur new trees for LIT genes will be a valuable resource for researchers studying the evolution of eyes or other light-interacting structures. We also introduce PIA, a high throughput method for using phylogenetic relationships to identify LIT genes in transcriptomes from non-model organisms. With simple modifications, our methods may be used to search for different sets of genes or to annotate data sets from taxa outside of Metazoa.
Egg size is a correlate of larval evolution in marine embryos. Comparing species with different egg sizes that develop via similar larvae reveals the flexibility and the constraints underlying larval forms. Clypeaster rosaceus is an echinoid that develops via a facultatively planktotrophic pluteus larva. Unlike most echinoids that develop via plutei, C. rosaceus (1) has a larger egg, with a correspondingly smaller ratio of surface area to volume, and (2) forms a large left coelom early in development. Given these characteristics, we predicted underlying changes in the allocation of embryonic tissues to germ layers. With a low surface-to-volume ratio, the C. rosaceus pluteus likely requires relatively less ectoderm than a typical pluteus, whereas the early formation of a large left coelom likely requires relatively more mesoderm than a typical pluteus. We tested this hypothesis by examining the cell lineage of C. rosaceus. We found that the boundary between ectoderm and endoderm in C. rosaceus has shifted relative to echinoids with more typical planktotrophic plutei and extends to or above the third cleavage plane at the equator of the embryo. This indicates a smaller proportional allocation to ectoderm and a larger proportional allocation to endomesoderm compared to echinoids with smaller egg sizes. On the basis of this observation, we develop a new model for the transition from obligate planktotrophy to lecithotrophy. We argue that species with larger eggs may allocate proportionally more tissue to structures selected for accelerated development. In the case of C. rosaceus, the larval cell lineage apportions more cells to endomesoderm and less to ectoderm due to the smaller surface-to-volume ratio of its larger eggs and the early formation of a large left coelom.
Knowledge of the interaction between carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and planar surfaces is essential to optimizing CNT applications as well as reducing their environmental impact. In this work, the surface element integration (SEI) technique was coupled with the DLVO theory to determine the orientation-dependent interaction energy between a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) and an infinite isotropic planar surface. For the first time, an analytical formula was developed to describe accurately the interaction between not only pristine but also surface-charged CNTs and planar surfaces with arbitrary rotational angles. Compared to other methods, the new analytical formulas were either more convenient or more accurate in describing the interaction between CNTs and planar surfaces, especially with respect to arbitrary angles. The results revealed the complex dependences of both force and torque between SWNTs and planar surfaces on the separation distances and rotational angles. With minor modifications, the analytical formulas derived for SWNTs can also be applied to multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). The new analytical expressions presented in this work can be used as a robust tool to describe the DLVO interaction between CNTs and planar surfaces under various conditions and thus to assist in the design and application of CNT-based products.
Sand dollars of the genus Mellita are members of the sandy shallow-water fauna. The genus ranges in tropical and subtropical regions on the two coasts of the Americas. To reconstruct the phylogeography of the genus we sequenced parts of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and of 16S rRNA as well as part of the nuclear 28S rRNA gene from a total of 185 specimens of all ten described morphospecies from 31 localities. Our analyses revealed the presence of eleven species, including six cryptic species. Sequences of five morphospecies do not constitute monophyletic molecular units and thus probably represent ecophenotypic variants. The fossil-calibrated phylogeny showed that the ancestor of Mellita diverged into a Pacific lineage and an Atlantic+Pacific lineage close to the Miocene/Pliocene boundary. Atlantic M. tenuis, M. quinquiesperforata and two undescribed species of Mellita have non-overlapping distributions. Pacific Mellita consist of two highly divergent lineages that became established at different times, resulting in sympatric M. longifissa and M. notabilis. Judged by modern day ranges, not all divergence in this genus conforms to an allopatric speciation model. Only the separation of M. quinquiesperforata from M. notabilis is clearly due to vicariance as the result of the completion of the Isthmus of Panama. The molecular phylogeny calibrated on fossil evidence estimated this event as having occurred ~3 Ma, thus providing evidence that, contrary to a recent proposal, the central American Isthmus was not completed until this date.
Using species distribution data, we developed a georeferenced database of troglobionts (cave-obligate species) in Tennessee to examine spatial patterns of species richness and endemism, including >2000 records for 200 described species. Forty aquatic troglobionts (stygobionts) and 160 terrestrial troglobionts are known from caves in Tennessee, the latter having the greatest diversity of any state in the United States. Endemism was high, with 25% of terrestrial troglobionts (40 species) and 20% of stygobionts (eight species) known from just a single cave and nearly two-thirds of all troglobionts (130 species) known from five or fewer caves. Species richness and endemism were greatest in the Interior Plateau (IP) and Southwestern Appalachians (SWA) ecoregions, which were twice as diverse as the Ridge and Valley (RV). Troglobiont species assemblages were most similar between the IP and SWA, which shared 59 species, whereas the RV cave fauna was largely distinct. We identified a hotspot of cave biodiversity with a center along the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau in south-central Tennessee defined by both species richness and endemism that is contiguous with a previously defined hotspot in northeastern Alabama. Nearly half (91 species) of Tennessees troglobiont diversity occurs in this region where several cave systems contain ten or more troglobionts, including one with 23 species. In addition, we identified distinct troglobiont communities across the state. These communities corresponded to hydrological boundaries and likely reflect past or current connectivity between subterranean habitats within and barriers between hydrological basins. Although diverse, Tennessees subterranean fauna remains poorly studied and many additional species await discovery and description. We identified several undersampled regions and outlined conservation and management priorities to improve our knowledge and aid in protection of the subterranean biodiversity in Tennessee.
Marine species with high dispersal potential often have huge ranges and minimal population structure. Combined with the paucity of geographic barriers in the oceans, this pattern raises the question as to how speciation occurs in the sea. Over the past 20 years, evidence has accumulated that marine speciation is often linked to the evolution of gamete recognition proteins. Rapid evolution of gamete recognition proteins in gastropods, bivalves, and sea urchins is correlated with gamete incompatibility and contributes to the maintenance of species boundaries between sympatric congeners. Here, we present a counterexample to this general pattern. The sea urchins Pseudoboletia indiana and P. maculata have broad ranges that overlap in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Cytochrome oxidase I sequences indicated that these species are distinct, and their 7.3% divergence suggests that they diverged at least 2 mya. Despite this, we suspected hybridization between them based on the presence of morphologically intermediate individuals in sympatric populations at Sydney, Australia. We assessed the opportunity for hybridization between the two species and found that (1) individuals of the two species occur within a meter of each other in nature, (2) they have overlapping annual reproductive cycles, and (3) their gametes cross-fertilize readily in the laboratory and in the field. We genotyped individuals with intermediate morphology and confirmed that many were hybrids. Hybrids were fertile, and some female hybrids had egg sizes intermediate between the two parental species. Consistent with their high level of gamete compatibility, there is minimal divergence between P. indiana and P. maculata in the gamete recognition protein bindin, with a single fixed amino acid difference between the two species. Pseudoboletia thus provides a well-characterized exception to the idea that broadcast spawning marine species living in sympatry develop and maintain species boundaries through the divergence of gamete recognition proteins and the associated evolution of gamete incompatibility.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.