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Gene. 2004 Dec 22;343(2):357-66.

Phylogenetic relationships of discoglossid frogs (Amphibia:Anura:Discoglossidae) based on complete mitochondrial genomes and nuclear genes.

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Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2. E-28006 Madrid, Spain.


The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial (mt) genome was determined for three species of discoglossid frogs (Amphibia:Anura:Discoglossidae), representing three of the four recognized genera: Alytes obstetricans, Bombina orientalis, and Discoglossus galganoi. The organization and size of these newly determined mt genomes are similar to those previously reported for other vertebrates. Phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference, minimum evolution, and maximum parsimony) of mt protein-coding genes at the amino acid level were performed in combination with already published mt genome sequence data of three species of Neobatrachia, one of Pipoidea, and four of Caudata. Phylogenetic analyses based on the deduced amino acid sequences of all mt protein-coding genes arrived at the same topology. The monophyly of Discoglossidae is strongly supported. Within the Discoglossidae, Alytes is consistently recovered as sister group of Discoglossus, to the exclusion of Bombina. The three species representing Neobatrachia exhibited extremely long branches irrespective of the phylogenetic inference method used, and hence their relative position with respect to Discoglossidae and Xenopus may be artefactual due to a severe long branch attraction effect. To further investigate the phylogenetic intrarelationships of discoglossids, nucleotide sequences of four nuclear protein-coding genes (CXCR4, RAG1, RAG2, and Rhodopsin) with sequences available for the three discoglossid genera and Xenopus were retrieved from GenBank, and together with a concatenated nucleotide sequence data set containing all mt protein-coding genes except ND6 were subjected to separate and combined phylogenetic analyses. In all cases, a sister group relationship between Alytes and Discoglossus was recovered with high statistical support.

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