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C R Biol. 2007 Feb;330(2):182-7. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

The phylogeny and classification of caenophidian snakes inferred from seven nuclear protein-coding genes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology and NASA Astrobiology Institute, 208 Mueller Lab, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802-5301, USA. nvidal@mnhn.fr

Abstract

More than 80% of the approximately 3000 living species of snakes are placed in the taxon Caenophidia (advanced snakes), a group that includes the families Acrochordidae, Viperidae, Elapidae, Atractaspididae, and the paraphyletic 'Colubridae'. Previous studies using DNA sequences have involved few nuclear genes (one or two). Several nodes have therefore proven difficult to resolve with statistical significance. Here, we investigated the higher-level relationships of caenophidian snakes with seven nuclear protein-coding genes and obtained a well-supported topology. Accordingly, some adjustments to the current classification of Caenophidia are made to better reflect the relationships of the groups. The phylogeny also indicates that, ancestrally, caenophidian snakes are Asian and nocturnal in origin, although living species occur on nearly all continents and are ecologically diverse.

PMID:
17303545
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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