Genome size versus geographic range size in birds.

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Date: Feb. 10, 2021
From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 8,381 words
Lexile Measure: 1320L

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Abstract :

Why do some species occur in small, restricted areas, while others are distributed globally? Environmental heterogeneity increases with area and so does the number of species. Hence, diverse biotic and abiotic conditions across large ranges may lead to specific adaptations that are often linked to a species' genome size and chromosome number. Therefore, a positive association between genome size and geographic range is anticipated. Moreover, high cognitive ability in organisms would be favored by natural selection to cope with the dynamic conditions within large geographic ranges. Here, we tested these hypotheses in birds-the most mobile terrestrial vertebrates-and accounted for the effects of various confounding variables, such as body mass, relative brain mass, and geographic latitude. Using phylogenetic generalized least squares and phylogenetic confirmatory path analysis, we demonstrated that range size is positively associated with bird genome size but probably not with chromosome number. Moreover, relative brain mass had no effect on range size, whereas body mass had a possible weak and negative effect, and range size was larger at higher geographic latitudes. However, our models did not fully explain the overall variation in range size. Hence, natural selection may impose larger genomes in birds with larger geographic ranges, although there may be additional explanations for this phenomenon.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A651322798