Next-generation sequencing and phylogenetic signal of complete mitochondrial genomes for resolving the evolutionary history of leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae) Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae) are one of the most studied groups within the order Chiroptera mainly because of their outstanding species richness and diversity in morphological and ecological traits. Rapid diversification and multiple homoplasies have made the phylogeny of the family difficult to solve using morphological characters. Molecular data have contributed to shed light on the evolutionary history of phyllostomid bats, yet several relationships remain unresolved at the intra-familial level. Complete mitochondrial genomes have proven useful to deal with this kind of situation in other groups of mammals by providing access to a large number of molecular characters. At present, there are only two mitogenomes available for phyllostomid bats hinting at the need for further exploration of the mitogenomic approach in this group. We used both standard Sanger sequencing of PCR products and next-generation sequencing (NGS) of shotgun genomic DNA to obtain new complete mitochondrial genomes from 10 species of phyllostomid bats, including representatives of major subfamilies, plus one outgroup belonging to the closely-related mormoopids. We then evaluated the contribution of mitogenomics to the resolution of the phylogeny of leaf-nosed bats and compared the results to those based on mitochondrial genes and the RAG2 and VWF nuclear makers. Our results demonstrate the advantages of the Illumina NGS approach to efficiently obtain mitogenomes of phyllostomid bats. The phylogenetic signal provided by entire mitogenomes is highly comparable to the one of a concatenation of individual mitochondrial and nuclear markers, and allows increasing both resolution and statistical support for several clades. This enhanced phylogenetic signal is the result of combining markers with heterogeneous evolutionary rates representing a large number of nucleotide sites. Our results illustrate the potential of the NGS mitogenomic approach for resolving the evolutionary history of phyllostomid bats based on a denser species sampling.


  • Poinar, Hendrik
  • Botero-Castro, Fidel
  • Tilak, Marie-ka
  • Justy, Fabienne
  • Catzeflis, François
  • Delsuc, Frédéric
  • Douzery, Emmanuel JP

publication date

  • December 2013