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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Feb;38(2):344-54. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

Cytochrome b and Bayesian inference of whale phylogeny.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, 33199, USA. lmayc002@fiu.edu

Abstract

In the mid 1990s cytochrome b and other mitochondrial DNA data reinvigorated cetacean phylogenetics by proposing many novel and provocative hypotheses of cetacean relationships. These results sparked a revision and reanalysis of morphological datasets, and the collection of new nuclear DNA data from numerous loci. Some of the most controversial mitochondrial hypotheses have now become benchmark clades, corroborated with nuclear DNA and morphological data; others have been resolved in favor of more traditional views. That major conflicts in cetacean phylogeny are disappearing is encouraging. However, most recent papers aim specifically to resolve higher-level conflicts by adding characters, at the cost of densely sampling taxa to resolve lower-level relationships. No molecular study to date has included more than 33 cetaceans. More detailed molecular phylogenies will provide better tools for evolutionary studies. Until more genes are available for a high number of taxa, can we rely on readily available single gene mitochondrial data? Here, we estimate the phylogeny of 66 cetacean taxa and 24 outgroups based on Cytb sequences. We judge the reliability of our phylogeny based on the recovery of several deep-level benchmark clades. A Bayesian phylogenetic analysis recovered all benchmark clades and for the first time supported Odontoceti monophyly based exclusively on analysis of a single mitochondrial gene. The results recover the monophyly of all but one family level taxa within Cetacea, and most recently proposed super- and subfamilies. In contrast, parsimony never recovered all benchmark clades and was sensitive to a priori weighting decisions. These results provide the most detailed phylogeny of Cetacea to date and highlight the utility of both Bayesian methodology in general, and of Cytb in cetacean phylogenetics. They furthermore suggest that dense taxon sampling, like dense character sampling, can overcome problems in phylogenetic reconstruction.

PMID:
16325433
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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