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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2008 May;47(2):472-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2007.09.012. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

Variation patterns of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene with secondary structure constraints and their application to phylogeny of cyprinine fishes (Teleostei: Cypriniformes).

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  • 1Laboratory of Fish Phylogenetics and Biogeography, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei 430072, People's Republic of China.


The mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences from 93 cyprinid fishes were examined to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships within the diverse and economically important subfamily Cyprininae. Within the subfamily a biased nucleotide composition (A>T, C>G) was observed in the loop regions of the gene, and in stem regions apparent selective pressures of base pairing showed a bias in favor of G over C and T over A. The bias may be associated with transition-transversion bias. Rates of nucleotide substitution were lower in stems than in loops. Analysis of compensatory substitutions across these taxa demonstrates 68% covariation in the gene and a logical weighting factor to account for dependence in mutations for phylogenetic inference should be 0.66. Comparisons of varied stem-loop weighting schemes indicate that the down-weightings for stem regions could improve the phylogenetic analysis and the degree of non-independence of stem substitutions was not as important as expected. Bayesian inference under four models of nucleotide substitution indicated that likelihood-based phylogenetic analyses were more effective in improving the phylogenetic performance than was weighted parsimony analysis. In Bayesian analyses, the resolution of phylogenies under the 16-state models for paired regions, incorporating GTR + G + I models for unpaired regions was better than those under other models. The subfamily Cyprininae was resolved as a monophyletic group, as well as tribe Labein and several genera. However, the monophyly of the currently recognized tribes, such as Schizothoracin, Barbin, Cyprinion + Onychostoma lineages, and some genera was rejected. Furthermore, comparisons of the parsimony and Bayesian analyses and results of variable length bootstrap analysis indicates that the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene should contain important character variation to recover well-supported phylogeny of cyprinid taxa whose divergences occurred within the recent 8 MY, but could not provide resolution power for deep phylogenies spanning 10-19 MYA.

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