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Character discriminatory power, character-set congruence, and the classification of individuals from hybrid zones: an example using stone crabs (Menippe)
Bert, T.M.; McCarthy, K.J.; Cruz-Lopez, H.; Bogdanowicz, S.M. (1996). Character discriminatory power, character-set congruence, and the classification of individuals from hybrid zones: an example using stone crabs (Menippe). Evolution 50(2): 655-671
In: Evolution. Society for the Study of Evolution: Lancaster. ISSN 0014-3820, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Chemotaxonomy; Classification; DNA; Hybridization; Marine crustaceans; Mitochondrial dna; Morphology; Population genetics; Menippe De Haan, 1833 [WoRMS]; Menippe mercenaria (Say, 1818) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bert, T.M.
  • McCarthy, K.J.
  • Cruz-Lopez, H.
  • Bogdanowicz, S.M.

    Many investigators categorize individuals from hybrid zones to facilitate comparisons among genotypic classes (e.g., parental, F sub(1), backcross) for comparative studies in which components of fitness or geographic variation are being analyzed. Frequently, multiple character sets representing genetically independent traits are used to classify these individuals and various methodologies are employed to combine the classifications obtained from the different character sets. We adapted the principles of total evidence and taxonomic congruence (two formalized approaches used by systematists in formulating phylogenetic hypotheses) to address the problem of discriminating hybridizing species and classifying individuals from hybrid zones. As our model, we used two morphological (coloration and morphometric) and two molecular (allozyme and mitochondrial DNA restriction-fragment-length polymorphism) character sets that differentiate two stone crab species (Menippe adina and M. mercenaria). Using principal-components analysis, we determined that combining character sets and eliminating characters or character sets that did not have large eigenvector coefficients for the principal component that best separated the two species yielded the highest level of discrimination between species and allowed us to classify a broad range of morpho-genotypes as hybrids. For the stone crabs, three diagnostic allozyme loci and five diagnostic coloration characters best separated the species. The two character sets were not completely congruent, but they agreed in their classification of 50% of the individuals from the hybrid zone and rarely strongly disagreed in their classifications. Classification discrepancies between the two character sets probably represent variation between traits in interspecific gene flow rather than intraspecific, ecologically mediated variation. Our results support the assertions of previous investigators who espoused the benefits associated with using multiple character sets to classify individuals from hybrid zones and demonstrate that, if character sets are reasonably congruent and numerically balanced, combining diagnostic characters from multiple character sets (a total-evidence approach) can enhance discriminatory power between species and facilitate the assignment of hybrid-zone individuals to genotypic classes. On the contrary, classifying hybrid-zone individuals using character sets separately (a taxonomic-congruence approach) provides the opportunity to compare levels of introgression between species and to assess reasons for discordance among the data sets.

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