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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2009 Dec;53(3):1037-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2009.07.031. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Support for the monophyletic origin of Gnathifera from phylogenomics.

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Institute of Molecular Genetics, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, J.J. Becherweg 30a, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.


The monophyletic origin of Spiralia within the metazoan tree of life is supported by many large-scale phylogenomic data. While there is now substantial molecular evidence for Lophotrochozoa being a monophyletic taxon within Spiralia, the phylogenetic affiliations of many other spiralian phyla remain unclear. Here we focus on the question of a monophyletic taxon Gnathifera, which was originally characterized by jaw morphology as comprising the taxa Rotifera, Acanthocephala and Gnathostomulida. Based on a large-scale molecular sequence dataset of 11,146 amino acid residues, we reconstructed phylogenetic trees of spiralian phyla using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian approaches. We obtain the first phylogenomic evidence for the clade Gnathifera, linking Syndermata (Rotifera+Acanthocephala) with Gnathostomulida. Furthermore, our data support recent findings concerning the paraphyly of Eurotatoria.

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