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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Amino acid sequence versus morphological data and the interordinal relationships of mammals.

To a large extent, the mutual affinities of the mammalian orders continue to puzzle systematists, even though comparative anatomy and amino acid sequencing offer a massive data base from which these relationships could potentially be adduced. In the present paper the consistency index--the number of character states less the number of characters in a data set, divided by the total number of changes in the character states on a cladogram--was used to examine the relative resolving powers of recently published morphological and molecular-sequence data. Consistency indices were calculated for previously published alpha crystallin A chain and myoglobin amino acid-sequence cladograms and for four original amino acid-sequence cladograms (alpha crystallin A, myoglobin, and alpha and beta hemoglobin); these were found to be comparable to the consistency indices of morphologically based cladograms. Qualitative comparisons between the morphologically based and molecularly based trees were also made; only moderate congruence between the two was observed. Moreover, there was a general lack of congruence between the cladograms specified by each of the four proteins. Amino acid-sequence and morphological data agreed on the placement of edentates as an early eutherian offshoot and on the grouping of hyracoids, proboscideans, and sirenians. Otherwise there was only limited congruence: morphology strongly supported the grouping of lagomorphs and rodents and the alliance of pholidotes and edentates, but sequence analyses did not. The placement of tubulidentates differed widely among proteins. Morphology indicated the close association of sirenians with proboscideans; proteins suggested a pairing of sirenians with hyracoids. Sequence data did not identify many (morphologically well-diagnosed) orders as monophyletic (e.g., Lagomorpha).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. Amino acid sequence versus morphological data and the interordinal relationships of mammals. Wyss, A.R., Novacek, M.J., McKenna, M.C. Mol. Biol. Evol. (1987) [Pubmed]
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