Evolutionary Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 262–270 | Cite as

Different Diversification Rates Between Sexual and Asexual Organisms

  • Diego FontanetoEmail author
  • Cuong Q. Tang
  • Ulrike Obertegger
  • Francesca Leasi
  • Timothy G. Barraclough
Research Article


Patterns of diversity reflect the balance between speciation and extinction over time. Here we estimate net diversification rates for samples of sexual and asexual rotifers using phylogenetic reconstructions from sequence data of one mtDNA locus, cytochrome oxidase c subunit I. All four clades of bdelloid rotifers, obligate asexuals, had higher number of species per clade and significantly higher accumulation of diversification events towards the root of the trees than the four clades of their sexual relatives, the monogonont rotifers. Such differences were robust to confounding effects of number of analysed sequences, haplotype diversity, overall genetic divergence, age of the clades or geographic coverage. Our results support the idea that differences in diversification rates could thus be ascribed to different mechanisms of speciation, with ecological speciation as the most plausible mechanism for asexual organisms.


DNA taxonomy γ Statistics Lineage-through-time plot Rotifera Speciation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego Fontaneto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cuong Q. Tang
    • 1
  • Ulrike Obertegger
    • 2
  • Francesca Leasi
    • 1
  • Timothy G. Barraclough
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonAscot BerkshireUK
  2. 2.Sustainable Agro-ecosystems and Bioresources DepartmentEdmund Mach Foundation, IASMA Research and Innovation CentreSan Michele all’AdigeItaly

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