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Deep avian evolutionary relationships have been difficult to resolve as a result of a putative explosive radiation. Our study examined approximately 32 kilobases of aligned nuclear DNA sequences from 19 independent loci for 169 species, representing all major extant groups, and recovered a robust phylogeny from a genome-wide signal supported by multiple(More)
Hummingbirds are an important model system in avian biology, but to date the group has been the subject of remarkably few phylogenetic investigations. Here we present partitioned Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses for 151 of approximately 330 species of hummingbirds and 12 outgroup taxa based on two protein-coding mitochondrial genes (ND2(More)
The tempo of species diversification in large clades can reveal fundamental evolutionary mechanisms that operate on large temporal and spatial scales. Hummingbirds have radiated into a diverse assemblage of specialized nectarivores comprising 338 species, but their evolutionary history has not, until now, been comprehensively explored. We studied(More)
Ratites (ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries, and kiwis) are large, flightless birds that have long fascinated biologists. Their current distribution on isolated southern land masses is believed to reflect the breakup of the paleocontinent of Gondwana. The prevailing view is that ratites are monophyletic, with the flighted tinamous as their sister group,(More)
BACKGROUND Microinversions are cytologically undetectable inversions of DNA sequences that accumulate slowly in genomes. Like many other rare genomic changes (RGCs), microinversions are thought to be virtually homoplasy-free evolutionary characters, suggesting that they may be very useful for difficult phylogenetic problems such as the avian tree of life.(More)
Insertion/deletion (indel) mutations, which are represented by gaps in multiple sequence alignments, have been used to examine phylogenetic hypotheses for some time. However, most analyses combine gap data with the nucleotide sequences in which they are embedded, probably because most phylogenetic datasets include few gap characters. Here, we report(More)
The apparent stasis in the evolution of avian chromosomes suggests that birds may have experienced relatively low rates of gene gain and loss in multigene families. To investigate this possibility and to explore the phenotypic consequences of variation in gene copy number, we examined evolutionary changes in the families of genes that encode the α- and(More)
Parasite host switches may trigger disease emergence, but prehistoric host ranges are often unknowable. Lymphatic filariasis and loiasis are major human diseases caused by the insect-borne filarial nematodes Brugia, Wuchereria and Loa. Here we show that the genomes of these nematodes and seven tropical bird lineages exclusively share a novel(More)
Organismal traits often represent the outcome of opposing selection pressures. Although social or sexual selection can cause the evolution of traits that constrain function or survival (e.g. ornamental feathers), it is unclear how the strength and direction of selection respond to ecological shifts that increase the severity of the constraint. For example,(More)