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, 39 (3), 657-67

Sequences From 14 Mitochondrial Genes Provide a Well-Supported Phylogeny of the Charadriiform Birds Congruent With the Nuclear RAG-1 Tree

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Sequences From 14 Mitochondrial Genes Provide a Well-Supported Phylogeny of the Charadriiform Birds Congruent With the Nuclear RAG-1 Tree

Tara A Paton et al. Mol Phylogenet Evol.

Abstract

Because of the difficulties of constructing a robust phylogeny for Charadriiform birds using morphological characters, recent studies have turned to DNA sequences to resolve the systematic uncertainties of family-level relationships in this group. However, trees constructed using nuclear genes or the mitochondrial Cytochrome b gene suggest deep-level relationships of shorebirds that differ from previous studies based on morphology or DNA-DNA hybridization distances. To test phylogenetic hypotheses based on nuclear genes (RAG-1, myoglobin intron-2) and single mitochondrial genes (Cytochrome b), approximately 13,000 bp of mitochondrial sequence was collected for one exemplar species of 17 families of Charadriiformes plus potential outgroups. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses show that trees constructed from long mitochondrial sequences are congruent with the nuclear gene topologies [Chardrii (Lari, Scolopaci)]. Unlike short mitochondrial sequences (such as Cytochrome b alone), longer sequences yield a well-supported phylogeny for shorebirds across various taxonomic levels. Examination of substitution patterns among mitochondrial genes reveals specific genes (especially ND5, ND4, ND2, and COI) that are better suited for phylogenetic analyses among shorebird families because of their relatively homogeneous nucleotide composition among lineages, slower accumulation of substitutions at third codon positions, and phylogenetic utility in both closely and distantly related lineages. For systematic studies of birds in which family and generic levels are examined simultaneously, we recommend the use of both nuclear and mitochondrial sequences as the best strategy to recover relationships that most likely reflect the phylogenetic history of these lineages.

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