Molecular support for Afrotheria and the polyphyly of Lipotyphla based on analyses of the growth hormone receptor gene

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2002 Jul;24(1):91-101. doi: 10.1016/s1055-7903(02)00219-1.


The order Lipotyphla has generally been viewed as a difficult group to classify. For example, recent morphologically based analyses only weakly support the lipotyphla while molecular evidence renders it polyphyletic, placing the golden moles and tenrecs in the superorder known as Afrotheria. Afrotheria is an hypothesized order that contains elephants, sirenians, hyraxes, aardvarks, elephant shrews, tenrecs, and golden moles. Within this group, it has been suggested that the African lipotyphlans (tenrecs and golden moles) form a monophyletic order sometimes referred to as "Afroscoricida," but more appropriately termed Tenrecoidea. The paper presents a molecular analysis of 36 taxa including representatives of five of the six families in Lipotyphla (Solenodontidae is absent) and all orders within Afrotheria. Parsimony analyses were completed using data from the nucleotide sequence of the tenth exon of the growth hormone receptor gene (GHR). These analyses support both the polyphyly of Lipotyphla and the monophyly of Afrotheria with high bootstrap and jackknife support. In addition, the remaining lipotyphlans (known as Eulipotyphla) appear polyphyletic, as does Tenrecoidea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carnivora / physiology
  • Eulipotyphla / classification
  • Eulipotyphla / physiology*
  • Exons
  • Models, Biological
  • Phylogeny*
  • Primates / physiology
  • Receptors, Somatotropin / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Receptors, Somatotropin