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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2008 Jun;47(3):1111-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2007.12.002. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

Monophyly, phylogenetic position and inter-familial relationships of the Alepocephaliformes (Teleostei) based on whole mitogenome sequences.

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Department of Marine Bioscience, Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan.


Recent mitogenomic studies suggest a new position for the deep-sea fishes of the order Alepocephaliformes, placing them within the Otocephala in contrast to their traditional placement within the Euteleostei. However, these studies included only two alepocephaliform taxa and left several questions unsolved about their systematics. Here we use whole mitogenome sequences to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships for 11 alepocephaliform taxa, sampled from all five nominal families, and a large selection of non-alepocephaliform teleosts, to address the following three questions: (1) is the Alepocephaliformes monophyletic, (2) what is its phylogenetic position within the Teleostei and (3) what are the relationships among the alepocephaliform families? Our character sets, including unambiguously aligned, concatenated mitogenome sequences that we have divided into four (first and second codon positions, tRNA genes, and rRNA genes) or five partitions (same as before plus the transversions at third codon positions, using "RY" coding), were analyzed by the partitioned maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. Our result strongly supported the monophyly of the Alepocephaliformes and its close relationship to the Clupeiformes and Ostariophysi. Altogether, these three groups comprise the Otocephala. Statistical comparison using likelihood-based SH test confidently rejected the monophyly of the Euteleostei when including the Alepocephaliformes. However, increasing the taxonomic sampling within the Alepocephaliformes did not resolve its position relative to the Clupeiformes and Ostariophysi. Within the Alepocephaliformes, our results strongly supported the monophyly of the platytroctid genera but not that of the remaining taxa. From one analysis to other, platytroctids were either the sister group of the remaining taxa or nested within the alepocephalids. Inferred relationships among alepocephaliform taxa were not congruent with any of the previously published phylogenetic hypotheses based on morphological characters.

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