Phylogenetic relationships among insect orders based on three nuclear protein-coding gene sequences

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2011 Feb;58(2):169-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.11.001. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

Abstract

Many attempts to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of higher groups of insects have been made based on both morphological and molecular evidence; nonetheless, most of the interordinal relationships of insects remain unclear or are controversial. As a new approach, in this study we sequenced three nuclear genes encoding the catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase delta and the two largest subunits of RNA polymerase II from all insect orders. The predicted amino acid sequences (In total, approx. 3500 amino acid sites) of these proteins were subjected to phylogenetic analyses based on the maximum likelihood and Bayesian analysis methods with various models. The resulting trees strongly support the monophyly of Palaeoptera, Neoptera, Polyneoptera, and Holometabola, while within Polyneoptera, the groupings of Isoptera/"Blattaria"/Mantodea (Superorder Dictyoptera), Dictyoptera/Zoraptera, Dermaptera/Plecoptera, Mantophasmatodea/Grylloblattodea, and Embioptera/Phasmatodea are supported. Although Paraneoptera is not supported as a monophyletic group, the grouping of Phthiraptera/Psocoptera is robustly supported. The interordinal relationships within Holometabola are well resolved and strongly supported that the order Hymenoptera is the sister lineage to all other holometabolous insects. The other orders of Holometabola are separated into two large groups, and the interordinal relationships of each group are (((Siphonaptera, Mecoptera), Diptera), (Trichoptera, Lepidoptera)) and ((Coleoptera, Strepsiptera), (Neuroptera, Raphidioptera, Megaloptera)). The sister relationship between Strepsiptera and Diptera are significantly rejected by all the statistical tests (AU, KH and wSH), while the affinity between Hymenoptera and Mecopterida are significantly rejected only by AU and KH tests. Our results show that the use of amino acid sequences of these three nuclear genes is an effective approach for resolving the relationships of higher groups of insects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • DNA Polymerase III / genetics*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Insecta / classification*
  • Insecta / enzymology
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA Polymerase II / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA

Substances

  • RNA Polymerase II
  • DNA Polymerase III

Associated data

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