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Mol Biol Evol. 2009 Oct;26(10):2397-406. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msp150. Epub 2009 Jul 14.

Bilaterian phylogeny: a broad sampling of 13 nuclear genes provides a new Lophotrochozoa phylogeny and supports a paraphyletic basal acoelomorpha.

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Departament de Genetica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


During the past decade, great progress has been made in clarifying the relationships among bilaterian animals. Studies based on a limited number of markers established new hypotheses such as the existence of three superclades (Deuterostomia, Ecdysozoa, and Lophotrochozoa) but left major questions unresolved. The data sets used to the present either bear few characters for many taxa (i.e., the ribosomal genes) or present many characters but lack many phyla (such as recent phylogenomic approaches) failing to provide definitive answers for all the regions of the bilaterian tree. We performed phylogenetic analyses using a molecular matrix with a high number of characters and bilaterian phyla. This data set is built from 13 genes (8,880 bp) belonging to 90 taxa from 27 bilaterian phyla. Probabilistic analyses robustly support the three superclades, the monophyly of Chordata, a spiralian clade including Brachiozoa, the basal position of a paraphyletic Acoelomorpha, and point to an ecdysozoan affiliation for Chaetognatha. This new phylogeny not only agrees with most classical molecular results but also provides new insights into the relationships between lophotrochozoans and challenges the results obtained using high-throughput strategies, highlighting the problems associated with the current trend to increase gene number rather than taxa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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