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Combined mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences resolve the interrelations of the major Australasian marsupial radiations

Phillips, Matthew J., McLenachan, Patricia, Down, Christin, Gibb, Gillian, & Penny, David (2006) Combined mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences resolve the interrelations of the major Australasian marsupial radiations. Systematic Biology, 55(1), pp. 122-137.

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Abstract

Australasian marsupials include three major radiations, the insectivorous/carnivorous Dasyuromorphia, the omnivorous bandicoots (Peramelemorphia), and the largely herbivorous diprotodontians. Morphologists have generally considered the bandicoots and diprotodontians to be closely related, most prominently because they are both syndactylous (with the 2nd and 3rd pedal digits being fused). Molecular studies have been unable to confirm or reject this Syndactyla hypothesis. Here we present new mitochondrial (mt) genomes from a spiny bandicoot (Echymipera rufescens) and two dasyurids, a fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) and a northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus). By comparing trees derived from pairwise base-frequency differences between taxa with standard (absolute, uncorrected) distance trees, we infer that composition bias among mt protein-coding and RNA sequences is sufficient to mislead tree reconstruction. This can explain incongruence between trees obtained from mt and nuclear data sets. However, after excluding major sources of compositional heterogeneity, both the “reduced-bias” mt and nuclear data sets clearly favor a bandicoot plus dasyuromorphian association, as well as a grouping of kangaroos and possums (Phalangeriformes) among diprotodontians. Notably, alternatives to these groupings could only be confidently rejected by combining the mt and nuclear data. Elsewhere on the tree, Dromiciops appears to be sister to the monophyletic Australasian marsupials, whereas the placement of the marsupial mole (Notoryctes) remains problematic. More generally, we contend that it is desirable to combine mt genome and nuclear sequences for inferring vertebrate phylogeny, but as separately modeled process partitions. This strategy depends on detecting and excluding (or accounting for) major sources of nonhistorical signal, such as from compositional nonstationarity.

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ID Code: 50530
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Base composition, Combined data, Marsupial, Mitochondrial genome, Phylogeny
DOI: 10.1080/10635150500481614
ISSN: 1076-836X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400)
Deposited On: 23 May 2012 01:22
Last Modified: 23 May 2012 01:22

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