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Mol Biol Evol. 1996 Jan;13(1):21-30.

Molecular divergence and phylogeny: rates and patterns of cytochrome b evolution in cranes.

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Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale 62901-6501, USA.


Analyses of complete cytochrome b sequences from all species of cranes (Aves: Gruidae) reveal aspects of sequence evolution in the early stages of divergence. These DNA sequences are > or = 89% identical, but expected departures from random substitution are evident. Silent, third-position pyrimidine transitions are the dominant substitution type, with transversion comprising only a small fraction of sequence differences. Substitution patterns are not clearly manifested until divergence has reached a moderate level (> 3%), as expected for a stochastic process. Variation in the frequency of mismatch types among lineages decreases at larger divergences, but the level of bias does not decay. Divergence varies up to fivefold among gene regions but is not correlated with structural domain. All protein structural domains except extramembrane 4 display < 20% variable residues. Regions corresponding to putative functional domains show the excepted conservation of amino acids, although the C-terminal portion of the Q0 reaction center displays several nonconservative replacements. Phylogenetic analyses incorporating substitution asymmetries produced mixed results. Distances estimated with multiple parameters (transition, codon-position, composition, and pyrimidine-transition biases) yielded identical additive tree topologies with comparable bootstrap values, all consistent with uncontroversial species relationships. Maximum likelihood analysis incorporating these biases, as well as equally weighted parsimony analysis, produced similar results. Static, differential weighting for parsimony did not improve the phylogenetic signal but produced unusual trees with low bootstraps. The overall rate of nucleotide substitution varies slightly but significantly among cranes, and calibration of distances against fossil dates suggests divergence rates of 0.7%-1.7% per million years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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