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Genome size rather than content might affect call properties in toads of three ploidy levels (Anura: Bufonidae: Bufo viridis subgroup)

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In vertebrates, genome size has been shown to correlate with nuclear and cell sizes, and influences phenotypic features, such as brain complexity. In three different anuran families, advertisement calls of polyploids exhibit longer notes and intervals than diploids, and difference in cellular dimensions have been hypothesized to cause these modifications. We investigated this phenomenon in green toads (Bufo viridis subgroup) of three ploidy levels, in a different call type (release calls) that may evolve independently from advertisement calls, examining 1205 calls, from ten species, subspecies, and hybrid forms. Significant differences between pulse rates of six diploid and four polyploid (3n, 4n) green toad forms across a range of temperatures from 7 to 27 °C were found. Laboratory data supported differences in pulse rates of triploids vs. tetraploids, but failed to reach significance when including field recordings. This study supports the idea that genome size, irrespective of call type, phylogenetic context, and geographical background, might affect call properties in anurans and suggests a common principle governing this relationship. The nuclear‐cell size ratio, affected by genome size, seems the most plausible explanation. However, we cannot rule out hypotheses under which call‐influencing genes from an unexamined diploid ancestral species might also affect call properties in the hybrid‐origin polyploids. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 105, 584–590.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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