Osteoglossiformes is one of the oldest teleost lineages, with a wide geographic distribution, making this group an interesting subject for systematic, biogeographic and evolutionary studies. Currently, living species of this order are found in several rivers and lakes in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Such wide distribution probably contributed to the diversity of the group, possibly due to the species adaptations to a large variety of environments. Considering their very ancient origin (~227 Mya), the current distribution of Osteoglossiformes could be the result of vicariant events after the Gondwana break-up. However, the fossil record and recent studies incorporating molecular dating do not fully support this theory. Thus, the present project seeks to evaluate the evolutionary relationships and diversification of the order Osteoglossiformes using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of ultra conserved element nuclear loci (UCEs). We will collect data from these loci across an extensive sample that includes representatives of all families from this order and use the obtained data to infer their evolutionary history. This will allow us to perform a biogeographic reconstruction of the diversification history of these fishes and to test if it took place before or after the fragmentation of the continents associated with the breakup of Gondwana. Allied to this project is an integrated team of researchers from all five continents, which will help to ensure the success of the proposed research.
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