Novel evolutionary relationship among four fish model systems

Trends Genet. 2004 Sep;20(9):424-31. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2004.07.005.


Knowledge of the correct phylogenetic relationships among animals is crucial for the valid interpretation of evolutionary trends in biology. Zebrafish, medaka, pufferfish and cichilds are fish models for development, genomics and comparative genetics studies, although their phylogenetic relationships have not been tested rigorously. The results of phylogenomic analysis based on 20 nuclear protein-coding genes confirmed the basal placement of zebrafish in the fish phylogeny but revealed an unexpected relationship among the other three species, contrary to traditionally held systematic views based on morphology. Our analyses show that medaka (Beloniformes) and cichlids (Perciformes) appear to be more closely related to each other than either of them is to pufferfish (Tetraodontiformes), suggesting that a re-interpretation of some findings in comparative biology might be required. In addition, phylogenomic analyses show that fish typically have more copies of nuclear genes than land vertebrates, supporting the fish-specific genome duplication hypothesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cichlids / classification
  • Cichlids / genetics*
  • Genes / genetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Oryzias / classification
  • Oryzias / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Tetraodontiformes / classification
  • Tetraodontiformes / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / classification
  • Zebrafish / genetics*