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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1995 Jun;4(2):175-83.

Systematic relationships within the Anthozoa (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) using the 5'-end of the 28S rDNA.

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Department of Molecular Sciences, James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, Australia.


Systematic relationships among the subclasses of Anthozoa, and especially among the orders Scleractinia, Actiniaria, and Corallimorpharia of subclass Zoantharia, were investigated by applying parsimony and distance methods of analysis to nucleotide sequence data obtained for the 5' end of the 28S rDNA. Exhaustive parsimony analysis indicates that the Ceriantipatharia are most representative of the ancestral Anthozoa. When applied to a wide range of scleractinians (nine taxa), actiniarians (seven taxa), and corallimorpharians (six taxa), both parsimony and distance analyses resolve three groups, one being the Scleractinia and the others containing both actiniarians and corallimorpharians. This indicates an unclear relationship between Actiniaria and Corallimorpharia and gives no support for Hand's hypothesis of scleractinian ancestry of actiniarians and corallimorphians; the monophyly of the Scleractinia, which is strongly supported by our analyses, is evidence to the contrary.

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