The phylogenetic position of the Talpidae within eutheria based on analysis of complete mitochondrial sequences

Mol Biol Evol. 2000 Jan;17(1):60-7. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a026238.


The complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of the mole Talpa europaea was sequenced and included in phylogenetic analyses together with another lipotyphlan (insectivore) species, the hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus, and 22 other eutherian species plus three outgroup taxa (two marsupials and a monotreme). The phylogenetic analyses reconstructed a sister group relationship between the mole and fruit bat Artibeus jamaicensis (order Chiroptera). The Talpa/Artibeus clade constitutes a sister clade of the cetferungulates, a clade including Cetacea, Artiodactyla, Perissodactyla, and Carnivora. A monophyletic relationship between the hedgehog and the mole was significantly rejected by maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood. Consistent with current systematic schemes, analyses of complete cytochrome b genes including the shrew Sorex araneus (family Soricidae) revealed a close relationship between Talpidae and Soricidae. The analyses of complete mtDNAs, along with the findings of other insectivore studies, challenge the maintenance of the order Lipotyphla as a taxonomic unit and support the elevation of the Soricomorpha (with the families Talpidae and Soricidae and possibly also the Solenodontidae and Tenrecidae) to the level of an order, as previously proposed in some morphological studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Eulipotyphla / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Mitochondrial