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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1996 Jun;5(3):522-32.

A phylogeny for the African treefrog family Hyperoliidae based on mitochondrial rDNA.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.


Mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequences were used to construct a phylogeny for the African treefrog family, Hyperoliidae. The sequences were aligned using the well-established mt 12S rRNA secondary structure as a map to designate stem and loop positions. Conservation of secondary structure permits a more accurate basis for assessing homologies than does primary sequence alone. The molecular trees showed many similarities to the morphological trees constructed previously. Species within a genus always grouped together. The genera Hyperolius, Heterixalus, Afrixalus, and Kassina were resolved, but not with statistical significance. Leptopelis was the basal group. The analysis shows clearly that Phylyctimantis groups with Kassina as it did in Drewes' morphological tree and that Tachycnemis groups closely with Heterisxalus, a relationship not suggested by the morphological data. Character weighting (including compensatory base changes), mitochondrial trees vs gene trees, and the biogeography of the group are discussed.

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