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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2003 Nov;29(2):279-88.

New insights into polychaete phylogeny (Annelida) inferred from 18S rDNA sequences.

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Free University of Berlin, Systematik und Evolution der Tiere, FB Biologie/Chemie/Pharmazie, Institute for Biology, Zoology, K├Ânigin-Luise-Str. 1-3, Berlin D-15194, Germany.


Annelid systematics and the ingroup relationships of polychaete annelids are matter of ongoing debates in recent analyses. For the investigation of sedentary polychaete relationships a molecular phylogenetic analysis was conducted based on 94 sequences of 18S rDNA, including unpublished sequences of 13 polychaete species. The data set was analyzed with maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods, as wells as Bayesian inference. As in previous molecular analyses the monophyly of many traditional polychaete families is confirmed. No evidence has been found for a possible monophyly of Canalipalpata or Scolecida. In all analyses a placement of the Echiura as a derived polychaete ingroup with a close relationship to the Capitellidae is confirmed. The orbiniids appear paraphyletic with regard to Questa. Travisia is transferred from Opheliidae to Scalibregmatidae. The remaining opheliids include a yet undescribed ctenodrilid species from Elba, whereas the other investigated ctenodrilid Ctenodrilus serratus groups with the Cirratulidae and shows a close affinity to the cirratulid genus Dodecaceria. A common ancestry of Branchiomaldane and Arenicola, which has been predicted on morphological data, is confirmed by the analysis and a sistergroup relationship between Arenicolidae and Maldanidae is also recovered. These results support our assumption that on the basis of a broader taxon sampling the phylogenetic position of controversially discussed taxa can be inferred by using 18S rDNA sequence data.

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