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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Jul;32(1):264-73.

Assessing the passerine "Tapestry": phylogenetic relationships of the Muscicapoidea inferred from nuclear DNA sequences.

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Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York 10024, USA.


This study presents new comparative sequence data from the nuclear RAG-1 gene for an increased taxon sample in order to investigate phylogenetic relationships among a diverse songbird superfamily, the Muscicapoidea, which has variously included the waxwings, silky flycatchers, Palm Chat, dippers, starlings, mockingbirds, thrushes, chats, and Old World flycatchers. At the same time, our results provide a test of the often-cited relationships inferred from the phenetic studies of Sibley and Ahlquist [Phylogeny and Classification of Birds: A Study in Molecular Evolution. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990] using DNA hybridization distances. Nuclear DNA sequences confirm the monophyly of the "core muscicapoid" group, as defined by Barker et al. [Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 269 (2002) 295] and also support the sister-group relationship of the Sturnidae and Mimidae, on the one hand, and the large-bodied thrushes (Turdini)+the Old World flycatchers and robins, on the other. The results of the phylogenetic analysis allow preliminary inferences about muscicapoid biogeographic history.

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