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Science. 2005 Dec 23;310(5756):1933-8.

Animal evolution and the molecular signature of radiations compressed in time.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, R. M. Bock Labs, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1525 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

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  • Science. 2006 Mar 3;311(5765):1242.


The phylogenetic relationships among most metazoan phyla remain uncertain. We obtained large numbers of gene sequences from metazoans, including key understudied taxa. Despite the amount of data and breadth of taxa analyzed, relationships among most metazoan phyla remained unresolved. In contrast, the same genes robustly resolved phylogenetic relationships within a major clade of Fungi of approximately the same age as the Metazoa. The differences in resolution within the two kingdoms suggest that the early history of metazoans was a radiation compressed in time, a finding that is in agreement with paleontological inferences. Furthermore, simulation analyses as well as studies of other radiations in deep time indicate that, given adequate sequence data, the lack of resolution in phylogenetic trees is a signature of closely spaced series of cladogenetic events.

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