Congruent mammalian trees from mitochondrial and nuclear genes using Bayesian methods

Mol Biol Evol. 2004 Feb;21(2):397-403. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msh033. Epub 2003 Dec 5.


Analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences have often produced different mammalian tree topologies, undermining confidence in the merit of molecular approaches with respect to "traditional" morphological classification. The recent sequencing of the complete mitochondrial genomes of two additional rodents (Spalax judaei and Jaculus jaculus) and one lagomorph (Ochotona princeps) has prompted us to reinvestigate the issue. Using Bayesian phylogenetics, we found phylogenetic relationships between mammalian species highly congruent with previous results based on nuclear genes. Our results show the existence of four primary lineages of placental mammals: Xenarthra, Afrotheria, Laurasiatheria, and Euarchontoglires. Relationships between and within these lineages strongly suggest that the gene trees may also be congruent with the underlying species phylogeny.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome*
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Mitochondrial