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J Mol Evol. 1993 Aug;37(2):93-108.

The isochore patterns of mammalian genomes and their phylogenetic implications.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France.

Erratum in

  • J Mol Evol 1994 May;38(5):547.


The compositional distributions of high molecular weight DNA fragments from 20 species belonging to 9 out of the 17 eutherian orders were investigated by analytical CsCl density gradient centrifugation and by preparative fractionation in Cs2SO4/BAMD density gradients followed by analysis of the fractions in CsCl. These compositional distributions reflect those of the isochores making up the corresponding genomes. A "general distribution" was found in species belonging to eight mammalian orders. A "myomorph distribution" was found in Myomorpha, but not in the other rodent infraorders Sciuromorpha and Histricomorpha, which share the general distribution. Two other distributions were found in a megachiropteran (but not in microchiropteran, which, again, shares the general distribution) and in pangolin (a species from the only genus of the order Pholidota), respectively. The main difference between the general distribution and all other distributions is that the former contains sizable amounts (6-10%) of GC-rich isochores (detected as DNA fragments equal to, or higher than, 1.710 g/cm3 in modal buoyant density), which are scarce, or absent, in the other distributions. This difference is remarkable because gene concentrations in mammalian genomes are paralleled by GC levels, the highest gene concentrations being present in the GC-richest isochores. The compositional distributions of mammalian genomes reported here shed light on mammalian phylogeny. Indeed, all orders investigated, with the exception of Pholidota, seem to share a common ancestor. The compositional patterns of the megachiropteran and of Myomorpha may be derived from the general pattern or have independent origins.

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