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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1999 Apr;11(3):381-93.

Phylogeny of salmonine fishes based on growth hormone introns: Atlantic (Salmo) and Pacific (Oncorhynchus) salmon are not sister taxa.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53201, USA.


Though salmonid fishes are a well-studied group, phylogenetic questions remain, especially with respect to genus-level relationships. These questions were addressed with duplicate growth hormone (GH) introns. Intron sequences from each duplicate gene yielded phylogenetic trees that were not significantly different from each other in topology. Statistical tests supported validity of the controversial monotypic genus Parahucho, monophyly of Oncorhynchus, and inclusion of Acantholingua ohridana within Salmo. Suprisingly, GH1 intron C (GH1C) did not support the widely accepted hypothesis that Oncorhynchus (Pacific salmon and trout) and Salmo (Atlantic salmon and trout) are sibling genera; GH2C was ambiguous at this node. Previously published data were also examined for support of Salmo and Oncorhynchus as sister taxa and only morphology showed significant support. If not sister taxa, the independent evolution of anadromy-the migration to sea and return to freshwater for spawning-is most parsimonious. While there was incongruence with and among published data sets, the GH1C intron phylogeny was the best hypothesis, based on currently available molecular data.

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