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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2009 Dec;53(3):891-906. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.018. Epub 2009 Aug 21.

Divergence date estimation and a comprehensive molecular tree of extant cetaceans.

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1
Department of Biology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA. mmcgo002@student.ucr.edu

Abstract

Cetaceans are remarkable among mammals for their numerous adaptations to an entirely aquatic existence, yet many aspects of their phylogeny remain unresolved. Here we merged 37 new sequences from the nuclear genes RAG1 and PRM1 with most published molecular data for the group (45 nuclear loci, transposons, mitochondrial genomes), and generated a supermatrix consisting of 42,335 characters. The great majority of these data have never been combined. Model-based analyses of the supermatrix produced a solid, consistent phylogenetic hypothesis for 87 cetacean species. Bayesian analyses corroborated odontocete (toothed whale) monophyly, stabilized basal odontocete relationships, and completely resolved branching events within Mysticeti (baleen whales) as well as the problematic speciose clade Delphinidae (oceanic dolphins). Only limited conflicts relative to maximum likelihood results were recorded, and discrepancies found in parsimony trees were very weakly supported. We utilized the Bayesian supermatrix tree to estimate divergence dates among lineages using relaxed-clock methods. Divergence estimates revealed rapid branching of basal odontocete lineages near the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, the antiquity of river dolphin lineages, a Late Miocene radiation of balaenopteroid mysticetes, and a recent rapid radiation of Delphinidae beginning approximately 10 million years ago. Our comprehensive, time-calibrated tree provides a powerful evolutionary tool for broad-scale comparative studies of Cetacea.

PMID:
19699809
DOI:
10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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