Unequal contribution of native South African phylogeographic lineages to the invasion of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, in Europe

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Abstract

Due to both deliberate and accidental introductions, invasive African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) populations have become established worldwide. In this study, we investigate the geographic origins of invasive X. laevis populations in France and Portugal using the phylogeographic structure of X. laevis in its native South African range. In total, 80 individuals from the whole area known to be invaded in France and Portugal were analysed for two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes, allowing a comparison with 185 specimens from the native range. Our results show that native phylogeographic lineages have contributed differently to invasive European X. laevis populations. In Portugal, genetic and historical data suggest a single colonization event involving a small number of individuals from the south-western Cape region in South Africa. In contrast, French invasive X. laevis encompass two distinct native phylogeographic lineages, i.e., one from the south-western Cape region and one from the northern regions of South Africa. The French X. laevis population is the first example of a X. laevis invasion involving multiple lineages. Moreover, the lack of population structure based on nuclear DNA suggests a potential role for admixture within the invasive French population.

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De Busschere, C., Courant, J., Herrel, A., Rebelo, R., Rödder, D., Measey, G. J., & Backeljau, T. (2016). Unequal contribution of native South African phylogeographic lineages to the invasion of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, in Europe. PeerJ, 2016(2). https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1659

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