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Integr Comp Biol. 2010 Sep;50(3):371-88. doi: 10.1093/icb/icq081. Epub 2010 Jul 2.

Phylogenetic signal in mitochondrial and nuclear markers in sea anemones (Cnidaria, Actiniaria).

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Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, 1315 Kinnear Rd., Columbus OH 43212, USA.


The mitochondrial genome of basal animals is generally more slowly evolving than that of bilaterians. This difference in rate complicates the study of relationships among members of these lineages and the discovery of cryptic species or the testing of morphological species concepts within them. We explore the properties of mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal genes in the cnidarian order Actiniaria, using both an ordinal- and familial-scale sample of taxa. Although the markers do not show significant incongruence, they differ in their phylogenetic informativeness and the kinds of relationships they resolve. Among the markers studied here, the fragments of 12S rDNA and 18S rDNA most effectively recover well-supported nodes; those of 16S rDNA and 28S rDNA are less effective. The general patterns we observed are similar to those in other hexacorallians, although Actiniaria alone show saturation of transitions for ordinal-scale analyses.

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