A molecular phylogeny of the Canidae based on six nuclear loci

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2005 Dec;37(3):815-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.019. Epub 2005 Oct 5.


We have reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships of 23 species in the dog family, Canidae, using DNA sequence data from six nuclear loci. Individual gene trees were generated with maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) analysis. In general, these individual gene trees were not well resolved, but several identical groupings were supported by more than one locus. Phylogenetic analysis with a data set combining the six nuclear loci using MP, ML, and Bayesian approaches produced a more resolved tree that agreed with previously published mitochondrial trees in finding three well-defined clades, including the red fox-like canids, the South American foxes, and the wolf-like canids. In addition, the nuclear data set provides novel indel support for several previously inferred clades. Differences between trees derived from the nuclear data and those from the mitochondrial data include the grouping of the bush dog and maned wolf into a clade with the South American foxes, the grouping of the side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) and black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) and the grouping of the bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) with the raccoon dog (Nycteruetes procyonoides). We also analyzed the combined nuclear+mitochondrial tree. Many nodes that were strongly supported in the nuclear tree or the mitochondrial tree remained strongly supported in the nuclear+mitochondrial tree. Relationships within the clades containing the red fox-like canids and South American canids are well resolved, whereas the relationships among the wolf-like canids remain largely undetermined. The lack of resolution within the wolf-like canids may be due to their recent divergence and insufficient time for the accumulation of phylogenetically informative signal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Canidae / classification
  • Canidae / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • DNA Primers
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fes / genetics
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / genetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics
  • Receptors, Somatotropin / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Vitronectin / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Receptors, Somatotropin
  • Vitronectin
  • tRNA, selenocysteine-
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fes