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J Mol Evol. 1992 Feb;34(2):153-62.

Substitutional bias confounds inference of cyanelle origins from sequence data.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Available molecular and biochemical data offer conflicting evidence for the origin of the cyanelle of Cyanophora paradoxa. We show that the similarity of cyanelle and green chloroplast sequences is probably a result of these two lineages independently developing the same pattern of directional nucleotide change (substitutional bias). This finding suggests caution should be exercised in the interpretation of nucleotide sequence analyses that appear to favor the view of a common endosymbiont for the cyanelle and chlorophyll-b-containing chloroplasts. The data and approaches needed to resolve the issue of cyanelle origins are discussed. Our findings also have general implications for phylogenetic inference under conditions where the base compositions (compositional bias) of the sequences analyzed differ.

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