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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 May;39(2):384-91. Epub 2005 Nov 15.

Testing morphologically based phylogenetic theories within the cartilaginous fishes with molecular data, with special reference to the catshark family (Chondrichthyes; Scyliorhinidae) and the interrelationships within them.

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  • 1Division of Chemical Pathology, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, South Africa.


A molecular phylogenetic investigation was conducted to examine phylogenetic relationships between various members of the catsharks (Chondrichthyes; Carcharhiniformes; Scyliorhinidae), and is the largest chondrichthyan data set yet analysed, consisting of nearly 130,000 nucleotides. Three mitochondrial DNA genes were used to construct the phylogenies, cytochrome b, NADH-2, and NADH-4, with 41 sequences from 18 taxa being novel. These sequences were either used separately or combined into a single data set, and phylogenies were constructed using various methods, however, only the Bayesian inference tree derived from the cytochrome b data set was resolved sufficiently for phylogenetic inferences to be made. Interestingly, the family Scyliorhinidae was not supported by the results and was found to be paraphyletic. The Scyliorhininae and Pentanchinae were supported, whereas the Pentanchini clade was present, but not well supported. The Halaelurini hypothesis was supported with Holohalaelurus identified as the basal genus of that clade, and Haploblepharus edwardsii identified as the basal taxon for that genus. Elsewhere within the Chondrichthyes, the Carcharhiniformes and the Lamniformes were found to be monophyletic, and the Heterodontiformes was placed within the Squalimorphs. The placement of the skates and rays in these analyses support the Batoidea as being sister to the Elasmobranchii.

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