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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2003 Nov;29(2):289-97.

Molecular systematics of primary reptilian lineages and the tuatara mitochondrial genome.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079, USA.

Abstract

We provide phylogenetic analyses for primary Reptilia lineages including, for the first time, Sphenodon punctatus (tuatara) using data from whole mitochondrial genomes. Our analyses firmly support a sister relationship between Sphenodon and Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes. Using Sphenodon as an outgroup for select squamates, we found evidence indicating a sister relationship, among our study taxa, between Serpentes (represented by Dinodon) and Varanidae. Our analyses support monophyly of Archosauria, and a sister relationship between turtles and archosaurs. This latter relationship is congruent with a growing set of morphological and molecular analyses placing turtles within crown Diapsida and recognizing them as secondarily anapsid (lacking a skull fenestration). Inclusion of Sphenodon, as the only surviving member of Sphenodontia (with fossils from the mid-Triassic), helps to fill a sampling gap within previous analyses of reptilian phylogeny. We also report a unique configuration for the mitochondrial genome of Sphenodon, including two tRNA(Lys) copies and an absence of ND5, tRNA(His), and tRNA(Thr) genes.

PMID:
13678684
DOI:
10.1016/s1055-7903(03)00108-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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