Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2003 Aug;28(2):186-96.

Nuclear gene sequences provide evidence for the monophyly of australidelphian marsupials.

Author information

Graduate Group in Genetics, University of California, Riverside 9252, USA.


Relationships among the seven extant orders of marsupials remain poorly understood. Most classifications recognize a fundamental split between Ameridelphia, which contains the American orders Didelphimorphia and Paucituberculata, and Australidelphia, which contains four Australasian orders (Dasyuromorphia, Diprotodontia, Notoryctemorphia, and Peramelina) and the South American order Microbiotheria, represented by Dromiciops gliroides. Ameridelphia and Australidelphia are each supported by key morphological characters with dichotomous character states. To date, molecular studies indexing all marsupial orders have reported inconclusive results. However, several studies have suggested that Dromiciops is nested within Australidelphia. This result has important implications for understanding the biogeographic history of living marsupials. To address questions in higher-level marsupial systematics, we sequenced portions of five nuclear genes (Apolipoprotein B gene; Breast and Ovarian cancer susceptibility gene 1; Recombination activating gene 1; Interphotoreceptor retinoid binding protein gene; and von Willebrand factor gene) for representatives of all orders of marsupials, as well as placental outgroups. The resulting 6.4kb concatenation was analyzed using maximum parsimony, distance methods, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian methods. tests were used to examine a priori hypotheses. All analyses provided robust support for the monophyly of Australidelphia (bootstrap support=99-100%; posterior probability=1.00). Ameridelphia received much lower support, although this clade was not rejected in statistical tests. Within Diprotodontia, both Vombatiformes and Phalangeriformes were supported at the 100% bootstrap level and with posterior probabilities of 1.00.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center