Meeting Abstract

50.4  Saturday, Jan. 5  Ultraconserved elements are abundant, universal markers for population genetic and behavioral studies FAIRCLOTH, B.C.*; GOWATY, P.A.; DRUMMOND, H.; WINKER, K.; GLENN, T.C.; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Los Angeles; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama; Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; University of Alaska Museum; University of Georgia brant@faircloth-lab.org

Ultraconserved elements (UCEs) are numerous, orthologous loci shared among large groups of taxa (e.g., amniotes, teleosts, etc.), and we have demonstrated that UCEs are universal markers useful for addressing phylogenetic hypotheses across these groups. However, the utility of UCEs at shallow levels of divergence is poorly understood. In silico work with human genome data and ongoing analyses of avian and reptilian genome sequence data strongly suggest that UCE loci are sufficiently variable to test hypotheses at the species, population, and individual levels. To test the assumption that UCE loci are useful at the population- and individual-level, we used target enrichment techniques and massively parallel sequencing to collect data from 5,000 UCE loci across all members of known-families representing three species of birds (Sula nebouxii, Sialia sialis, Sialia mexicana). After sequencing, we enriched an average of 4,160 (95 CI = 93) UCE loci from each individual having an average length of 622 bp (95 CI = 29) and totaling an average of 2.6 Mbp (95 CI = 17.2 Kbp) per individual. We will discuss the utility of these UCE data in behavioral (parentage/relatedness) and population genetic (diversity/structure) contexts, in addition to discussing these data in relation to ongoing projects using UCEs at the species level. We will also address the utility of UCEs as universal genetic markers allowing apples-to-apples comparisons at the species, population, and individual level across large taxonomic groups (e.g. tetrapods).