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Transcriptomic and macroevolutionary evidence for phenotypic uncoupling between frog life history phases

ORCID
0000-0001-8858-1804
Affiliation
Department of Natural Sciences, College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114, USA.
Wollenberg Valero, Katharina C;
Affiliation
Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.
Garcia-Porta, Joan;
ORCID
0000-0003-1936-793X
Affiliation
Division of Evolutionary Biology, Zoological Institute, Technical University of Braunschweig, Mendelssohnsstr. 4, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
Rodríguez, Ariel;
Affiliation
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Faculty of Biology, Division of Evolutionary Biology, Großhaderner Straße 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.
Arias, Mónica;
Affiliation
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Faculty of Biology, Division of Evolutionary Biology, Großhaderner Straße 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.
Shah, Abhijeet;
Affiliation
Division of Evolutionary Biology, Zoological Institute, Technical University of Braunschweig, Mendelssohnsstr. 4, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
Randrianiaina, Roger Daniel;
Affiliation
Department of Zoology, Cooperative Wildlife Research Lab, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901, USA.
Brown, Jason L.;
Affiliation
Zoologische Staatssammlung München (ZSM-SNSB), Sektion Herpetologie, Münchhausenstraße 21, 81247 München, Germany.
Glaw, Frank;
Affiliation
Àrea d'Herpetologia (BIBIO), Museu de Granollers-Ciències Naturals, Palaudàries, 102. Jardins Antoni Jonch Cuspinera, Granollers, Catalonia 08402, Spain.
Amat, Felix;
Affiliation
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, 24306 Plön, Germany.
Künzel, Sven;
Affiliation
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Faculty of Biology, Division of Evolutionary Biology, Großhaderner Straße 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.
Metzler, Dirk;
Affiliation
Department of Natural Sciences, College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114, USA.
Isokpehi, Raphael D.;
ORCID
0000-0003-0747-0817
Affiliation
Division of Evolutionary Biology, Zoological Institute, Technical University of Braunschweig, Mendelssohnsstr. 4, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
Vences, Miguel

Anuran amphibians undergo major morphological transitions during development, but the contribution of their markedly different life-history phases to macroevolution has rarely been analysed. Here we generate testable predictions for coupling versus uncoupling of phenotypic evolution of tadpole and adult life-history phases, and for the underlying expression of genes related to morphological feature formation. We test these predictions by combining evidence from gene expression in two distantly related frogs, Xenopus laevis and Mantidactylus betsileanus, with patterns of morphological evolution in the entire radiation of Madagascan mantellid frogs. Genes linked to morphological structure formation are expressed in a highly phase-specific pattern, suggesting uncoupling of phenotypic evolution across life-history phases. This gene expression pattern agrees with uncoupled rates of trait evolution among life-history phases in the mantellids, which we show to have undergone an adaptive radiation. Our results validate a prevalence of uncoupling in the evolution of tadpole and adult phenotypes of frogs.

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