Mitochondrial protein phylogeny joins myriapods with chelicerates

Nature. 2001 Sep 13;413(6852):154-7. doi: 10.1038/35093090.


The animal phylum Arthropoda is very useful for the study of body plan evolution given its abundance of morphologically diverse species and our profound understanding of Drosophila development. However, there is a lack of consistently resolved phylogenetic relationships between the four extant arthropod subphyla, Hexapoda, Myriapoda, Chelicerata and Crustacea. Recent molecular studies have strongly supported a sister group relationship between Hexapoda and Crustacea, but have not resolved the phylogenetic position of Chelicerata and Myriapoda. Here we sequence the mitochondrial genome of the centipede species Lithobius forficatus and investigate its phylogenetic information content. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of conserved regions from the arthropod mitochondrial proteome yields highly resolved and congruent trees. We also find that a sister group relationship between Myriapoda and Chelicerata is strongly supported. We propose a model to explain the apparently parallel evolution of similar head morphologies in insects and myriapods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropods / classification*
  • Arthropods / genetics
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA
  • Insecta / classification
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phylogeny
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein


  • Proteins
  • DNA