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Mutation pressure mediates a pattern of substitution rates with latitude and climate in carnivores
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  • Chao Zhao,
  • Guangshuai Liu,
  • Xiufeng Yang,
  • Xibao Wang,
  • Shengyang Zhou,
  • Zhao Liu,
  • Kangning Liu,
  • Honghai Zhang
Chao Zhao
Qufu Normal University
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Guangshuai Liu
Qufu Normal University
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Xiufeng Yang
Qufu Normal University
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Xibao Wang
Qufu Normal University
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Shengyang Zhou
Qufu Normal University
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Zhao Liu
Qufu Normal University
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Kangning Liu
Qufu Normal University
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Honghai Zhang
Qufu Normal University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

The evolutionary patterns of the mitochondrial genome are influenced by both adaptive and nonadaptive forces, with their contributions varying among taxa. There appears to be a correlation linking mutagenesis and latitude, which could be due to differences in metabolic rates. These discrepancies in metabolic rates exhibit a positive connection with mutation pressure. On this basis, we hypothesise that nonadaptive forces play a role in the differences in mutation rates observed along latitudinal gradients. In this study, we selected widely distributed carnivores as representatives of mammals to test our hypothesis. We examined the correlations between the dN/dS ratio (ω), as well as the substitution rates (dS and dN), of 13 PCGs in the mtDNA of 122 carnivores, and the latitude and climatic factors. We found that taxa distributed in higher latitudes tend to have higher substitution rates, but not ω values indicating selective pressure. Notably, dN shows a strong positive correlation with dS, although dS is primarily influenced by mutation pressure, while dN is also influenced by effective population size (Ne). Phylogenetic generalised least squares (PGLS) regression analyses showed that both substitution rates were correlated with climatic factors representing the temperature, precipitation and variability of climate. Based on our findings, we propose that the mutations are primarily influenced by nonadaptive forces (mutation pressure). This forms the fundamental premise for natural selection and speciation. Moreover, the correlation between substitution rates and latitudinal distribution and climate, which are outcomes of nonadaptive factors, can aid in comprehending the global distribution of species diversity.