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      The utility of CAD in recovering Gondwanan vicariance events and the evolutionary history of Aciliini (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)

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          Aciliini presently includes 69 species of medium-sized water beetles distributed on all continents except Antarctica. The pattern of distribution with several genera confined to different continents of the Southern Hemisphere raises the yet untested hypothesis of a Gondwana vicariance origin. The monophyly of Aciliini has been questioned with regard to Eretini, and there are competing hypotheses about the intergeneric relationship in the tribe. This study is the first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis focused on the tribe Aciliini and it is based on eight gene fragments. The aims of the present study are: 1) to test the monophyly of Aciliini and clarify the position of the tribe Eretini and to resolve the relationship among genera within Aciliini, 2) to calibrate the divergence times within Aciliini and test different biogeographical scenarios, and 3) to evaluate the utility of the gene CAD for phylogenetic analysis in Dytiscidae.


          Our analyses confirm monophyly of Aciliini with Eretini as its sister group. Each of six genera which have multiple species are also supported as monophyletic. The origin of the tribe is firmly based in the Southern Hemisphere with the arrangement of Neotropical and Afrotropical taxa as the most basal clades suggesting a Gondwana vicariance origin. However, the uncertainty as to whether a fossil can be used as a stem-or crowngroup calibration point for Acilius influenced the result: as crowngroup calibration, the 95% HPD interval for the basal nodes included the geological age estimate for the Gondwana break-up, but as a stem group calibration the basal nodes were too young. Our study suggests CAD to be the most informative marker between 15 and 50 Ma. Notably, the 2000 bp CAD fragment analyzed alone fully resolved the tree with high support.


          1) Molecular data confirmed Aciliini as a monophyletic group. 2) Bayesian optimizations of the biogeographical history are consistent with an influence of Gondwana break-up history, but were dependent on the calibration method. 3) The evaluation using a method of phylogenetic signal per base pair indicated Wnt and CAD as the most informative of our sampled genes.

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          AWTY (are we there yet?): a system for graphical exploration of MCMC convergence in Bayesian phylogenetics.

          A key element to a successful Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) inference is the programming and run performance of the Markov chain. However, the explicit use of quality assessments of the MCMC simulations-convergence diagnostics-in phylogenetics is still uncommon. Here, we present a simple tool that uses the output from MCMC simulations and visualizes a number of properties of primary interest in a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, such as convergence rates of posterior split probabilities and branch lengths. Graphical exploration of the output from phylogenetic MCMC simulations gives intuitive and often crucial information on the success and reliability of the analysis. The tool presented here complements convergence diagnostics already available in other software packages primarily designed for other applications of MCMC. Importantly, the common practice of using trace-plots of a single parameter or summary statistic, such as the likelihood score of sampled trees, can be misleading for assessing the success of a phylogenetic MCMC simulation. The program is available as source under the GNU General Public License and as a web application at
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            The genome of the model beetle and pest Tribolium castaneum.

            Tribolium castaneum is a member of the most species-rich eukaryotic order, a powerful model organism for the study of generalized insect development, and an important pest of stored agricultural products. We describe its genome sequence here. This omnivorous beetle has evolved the ability to interact with a diverse chemical environment, as shown by large expansions in odorant and gustatory receptors, as well as P450 and other detoxification enzymes. Development in Tribolium is more representative of other insects than is Drosophila, a fact reflected in gene content and function. For example, Tribolium has retained more ancestral genes involved in cell-cell communication than Drosophila, some being expressed in the growth zone crucial for axial elongation in short-germ development. Systemic RNA interference in T. castaneum functions differently from that in Caenorhabditis elegans, but nevertheless offers similar power for the elucidation of gene function and identification of targets for selective insect control.
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              Accounting for calibration uncertainty in phylogenetic estimation of evolutionary divergence times.


                Author and article information

                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evol. Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central
                14 January 2014
                : 14
                : 5
                [1 ]Department of Entomology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden
                [2 ]Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
                [3 ]Department of Biology and Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
                Copyright © 2014 Bukontaite et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Research Article

                Evolutionary Biology

                cad, aciliini, adephaga, biogeography, phylogenetic informativeness, phylogeny


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