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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2008 Mar;46(3):818-29. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2007.06.001. Epub 2007 Jun 16.

Molecular phylogenetics of the family Cyprinidae (Actinopterygii: Cypriniformes) as evidenced by sequence variation in the first intron of S7 ribosomal protein-coding gene: further evidence from a nuclear gene of the systematic chaos in the family.

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  • 1Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China.


The family Cyprinidae is the largest freshwater fish group in the world, including over 200 genera and 2100 species. The phylogenetic relationships of major clades within this family are simply poorly understood, largely because of the overwhelming diversity of the group; however, several investigators have advanced different hypotheses of relationships that pre- and post-date the use of shared-derived characters as advocated through phylogenetic systematics. As expected, most previous investigations used morphological characters. Recently, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences and combined morphological and mtDNA investigations have been used to explore and advance our understanding of species relationships and test monophyletic groupings. Limitations of these studies include limited taxon sampling and a strict reliance upon maternally inherited mtDNA variation. The present study is the first endeavor to recover the phylogenetic relationships of the 12 previously recognized monophyletic subfamilies within the Cyprinidae using newly sequenced nuclear DNA (nDNA) for over 50 species representing members of the different previously hypothesized subfamily and family groupings within the Cyprinidae and from other cypriniform families as outgroup taxa. Hypothesized phylogenetic relationships are constructed using maximum parsimony and Basyesian analyses of 1042 sites, of which 971 sites were variable and 790 were phylogenetically informative. Using other appropriate cypriniform taxa of the families Catostomidae (Myxocyprinus asiaticus), Gyrinocheilidae (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri), and Balitoridae (Nemacheilus sp. and Beaufortia kweichowensis) as outgroups, the Cyprinidae is resolved as a monophyletic group. Within the family the genera Raiamas, Barilius, Danio, and Rasbora, representing many of the tropical cyprinids, represent basal members of the family. All other species can be classified into variably supported and resolved monophyletic lineages, depending upon analysis, that are consistent with or correspond to Barbini and Leuciscini. The Barbini includes taxa traditionally aligned with the subfamily Cyprininae sensu previous morphological revisionary studies by Howes (Barbinae, Labeoninae, Cyprininae and Schizothoracinae). The Leuciscini includes six other subfamilies that are mainly divided into three separate lineages. The relationships among genera and subfamilies are discussed as well as the possible origins of major lineages.

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