Novel relationships among ten fish model species revealed based on a phylogenomic analysis using ESTs

J Mol Evol. 2006 Jun;62(6):772-84. doi: 10.1007/s00239-005-0170-8. Epub 2006 May 11.


The power of comparative phylogenomic analyses also depends on the amount of data that are included in such studies. We used expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from fish model species as a proof of principle approach in order to test the reliability of using ESTs for phylogenetic inference. As expected, the robustness increases with the amount of sequences. Although some progress has been made in the elucidation of the phylogeny of teleosts, relationships among the main lineages of the derived fish (Euteleostei) remain poorly defined and are still debated. We performed a phylogenomic analysis of a set of 42 of orthologous genes from 10 available fish model systems from seven different orders (Salmoniformes, Siluriformes, Cypriniformes, Tetraodontiformes, Cyprinodontiformes, Beloniformes, and Perciformes) of euteleostean fish to estimate divergence times and evolutionary relationships among those lineages. All 10 fish species serve as models for developmental, aquaculture, genomic, and comparative genetic studies. The phylogenetic signal and the strength of the contribution of each of the 42 orthologous genes were estimated with randomly chosen data subsets. Our study revealed a molecular phylogeny of higher-level relationships of derived teleosts, which indicates that the use of multiple genes produces robust phylogenies, a finding that is expected to apply to other phylogenetic issues among distantly related taxa. Our phylogenomic analyses confirm that the euteleostean superorders Ostariophysi and Acanthopterygii are monophyletic and the Protacanthopterygii and Ostariophysi are sister clades. In addition, and contrary to the traditional phylogenetic hypothesis, our analyses determine that killifish (Cyprinodontiformes), medaka (Beloniformes), and cichlids (Perciformes) appear to be more closely related to each other than either of them is to pufferfish (Tetraodontiformes). All 10 lineages split before or during the fragmentation of the supercontinent Pangea in the Jurassic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Expressed Sequence Tags / metabolism*
  • Fishes / classification
  • Fishes / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phylogeny*