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Mol Biol Evol. 1996 Jul;13(6):824-32.

Evidence that two types of 18S rDNA coexist in the genome of Dugesia (Schmidtea) mediterranea (Platyhelminthes, Turbellaria, Tricladida).

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1
Departament de Genètica, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain. carranza@porthos.bio.ub.es

Abstract

Sequences of 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) are increasingly being used to infer phylogenetic relationships among living taxa. Although the 18S rDNA belongs to a multigene family, all its copies are kept homogeneous by concerted evolution (Dover 1982; Hillis and Dixon 1991). To date, there is only one well-characterized exception to this rule, the protozoan Plasmodium (Gunderson et al. 1987; Waters, Syin, and McCutchan 1989; Qari et al. 1994). Here we report the 1st case of 18S rDNA polymorphism within a metazoan species. Two types (I and II) of 18S rDNA have been found and sequenced in the platyhelminth Dugesia (Schmidtea) mediterranea (Turbellaria, Seriata, Tricladida). Southern blot analysis suggested that both types of rDNA are present in the genome of this flatworm. This was confirmed through sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analysis using the neighbor-joining method and bootstrap test. Although secondary structure analysis suggests that both types are functional, only type I seems to be transcribed to RNA, as demonstrated by Northern blot analysis. The finding of different types of 18S rDNAs in a single genome stresses the need for analyzing a large number of clones whenever 18S sequences obtained by PCR amplification and cloning are being used in phylogenetic reconstruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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