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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 1;91(5):1801-4.

Details of the evolutionary history from invertebrates to vertebrates, as deduced from the sequences of 18S rDNA.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Japan.


Almost the entire sequences of 18S rDNA were determined for two chaetognaths, five echinoderms, a hemichordate, and two urochordates (a larvacean and a salp). Phylogenetic comparisons of the sequences, together with those of other deuterostomes (an ascidian, a cephalochordate, and vertebrates) and protostomes (an arthropod and a mollusc), suggest the monophyly of the deuterostomes, with the exception of the chaetognaths. Chaetognaths may not be a group of deuterostomes. The deuterostome group closest to vertebrates was the group of cephalochordates. Ascidians, larvaceans, and salps seem to form a discrete group (urochordates), in which the early divergence of larvaceans is evident. These results support the hypothesis that chordates evolved from free-living ancestors.

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