Examination of hemiplasy, homoplasy and phylogenetic discordance in chromosomal evolution of the bovidae
Robertsonian chromosomal fusions predominate in shaping the genomes of many species of Bovidae. These and other cytogenetic data (from 52 taxa representing 51 species and 9 tribes of Bovidae) were (i) examined for usefulness in defining phylogenetic relationships and (ii) subsequently mapped to a consensus tree based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA gene sequences with divergence dates of the corresponding species calculated from cytochrome b sequences. This permitted persistence time estimates for the various rearrangements. The chromosomal data resulted in an unsupported higher-level topology, but with recognition of the monophyly of some genera and tribes within Bovidae. The distribution and temporal spread of character states on the species tree is suggestive of a restricted role for hemiplasy (the retention of an ancestral chromosomal polymorphism through multiple speciation events) and for introgression (resulting from secondary contact among taxa), processes that can potentially lead to phylogenetic discordance. We conclude that the most probable interpretation for these data is that genuine karyotypic homoplasy predominates, but that hemiplasy (and/or introgression) is a realistic hypothesis for the observed patterns of several shared characters in Bovidae. © The Author(s) 2011. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved.