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Phylogeographic relationships and morphological evolution between cave and surface Astyanax mexicanus populations (De Fillipi 1853) (Actinopterygii, Characidae)
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  • Marco Garduño-Sánchez,
  • Jorge Hernandez-Lozano,
  • Rachel Moran,
  • Ramses Miranda-Gamboa,
  • Joshua Gross,
  • Nicolas Rohner,
  • William Elliott,
  • Jeffrey Miller,
  • Lourdes Lozano-Vilano,
  • Suzanne McGaugh,
  • Claudia Ornelas-García
Marco Garduño-Sánchez
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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Jorge Hernandez-Lozano
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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Rachel Moran
University of Minnesota
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Ramses Miranda-Gamboa
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
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Joshua Gross
University of Cincinnati
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Nicolas Rohner
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
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William Elliott
Association for Mexican Cave Studies
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Jeffrey Miller
University of Minnesota
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Lourdes Lozano-Vilano
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
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Suzanne McGaugh
University of Minnesota
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Claudia Ornelas-García
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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The Astyanax mexicanus complex include two different morphs, a surface and a cave adapted ecotype, found at three mountain ranges in Northeastern Mexico: Sierra de El Abra, Sierra de Guatemala, and Sierra de la Colmena (Micos). Since their discovery, multiple studies have attempted to characterize the timing and the number of events that gave rise to the evolution of these cave-adapted ecotypes. Here, using RAD-seq and genome-wide sequencing, we assessed the phylogenetic relationships, genetic structure, and gene flow events between the cave and surface Astyanax mexicanus populations, to estimate the time and mode of evolution of the cave-adapted ecotypes. We also evaluated the body shape evolution across different cave lineages using geometric morphometrics to examine the role of phylogenetic signal vs. environmental pressures. We found strong evidence of parallel evolution of cave-adapted ecotypes derived from two separate lineages of surface fish and hypothesize that there may be up to four independent invasions of caves from surface fish. Moreover, a strong congruence between the genetic structure and geographic distribution was observed across the cave populations, with the Sierra de Guatemala the region exhibiting most genetic drift among the cave populations analyzed. Interestingly, we found no evidence of phylogenetic signal in body shape evolution, but we found support for parallel evolution in body shape across independent cave lineages, with cavefish from the Sierra de El Abra reflected the most divergent morphology relative to surface and other cavefish populations.
15 Jul 2023Submitted to Molecular Ecology
19 Jul 2023Submission Checks Completed
19 Jul 2023Assigned to Editor
19 Jul 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Jul 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Aug 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
11 Aug 20231st Revision Received
16 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
16 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
16 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Aug 2023Editorial Decision: Accept