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Mol Biol Evol. 1996 Dec;13(10):1306-17.

Investigation of molluscan phylogeny on the basis of 18S rRNA sequences.

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Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen, Afdeling Malacologie, Brussels, Belgium.


The 18S rRNA sequences of 12 molluscs, representing the extant classes Gastropoda, Bivalvia, Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, and Caudofoveata, were determined and compared with selected known 18S rRNA sequences of Metazoa, including other Mollusca. These data do not provide support for a close relationship between Platyhelminthes (Turbellaria) and Mollusca, but rather suggest that the latter group belongs to a clade of eutrochozoan coelomates. The 18S rRNA data fail to recover molluscan, bivalve, or gastropod monophyly. However, the branching pattern of the eutrochozoan phyla and classes is unstable, probably due to the explosive Cambrian radiation during which these groups arose. Similarly, the 18S rRNA data do not provide a reliable signal for the molluscan interclass relationships. Nevertheless, we obtained strong preliminary support for phylogenetic inferences at more restricted taxonomic levels, such as the monophyly of Polyplacophora, Caenogastropoda, Euthyneura, Heterodonta, and Arcoida.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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