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Squamate Conserved Loci (SqCL): a unified set of conserved loci for phylogenomics and population genetics of squamate reptiles

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The International Journal of Health Planning and Management

Published online on


The identification of conserved loci across genomes, along with advances in target capture methods and high‐throughput sequencing, has helped spur a phylogenomics revolution by enabling researchers to gather large numbers of homologous loci across clades of interest with minimal upfront investment in locus design. Target capture for vertebrate animals is currently dominated by two approaches – anchored hybrid enrichment (AHE) and ultraconserved elements (UCE) – and both approaches have proven useful for addressing questions in phylogenomics, phylogeography, and population genomics. However, these two sets of loci have minimal overlap with each other; moreover, they do not include many traditional loci that that have been used for phylogenetics. Here, we combine across UCE, AHE, and traditional phylogenetic gene locus sets to generate the Squamate Conserved Loci (SqCL) set, a single integrated probe set that can generate high‐quality and highly complete data across all three loci types. We use these probes to generate data for 44 phylogenetically‐disparate taxa that collectively span approximately 33% of terrestrial vertebrate diversity. Our results generated an average of 4.29 Mb across 4709 loci per individual, of which an average of 2.99 Mb was sequenced to high enough coverage (≥10×) to use for population genetic analyses. We validate the utility of these loci for both phylogenomic and population genomic questions, provide a comparison among these locus sets of their relative usefulness, and suggest areas for future improvement. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.