A mitogenomic phylogeny of living primates

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 16;8(7):e69504. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069504. Print 2013.

Abstract

Primates, the mammalian order including our own species, comprise 480 species in 78 genera. Thus, they represent the third largest of the 18 orders of eutherian mammals. Although recent phylogenetic studies on primates are increasingly built on molecular datasets, most of these studies have focused on taxonomic subgroups within the order. Complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes have proven to be extremely useful in deciphering within-order relationships even up to deep nodes. Using 454 sequencing, we sequenced 32 new complete mt genomes adding 20 previously not represented genera to the phylogenetic reconstruction of the primate tree. With 13 new sequences, the number of complete mt genomes within the parvorder Platyrrhini was widely extended, resulting in a largely resolved branching pattern among New World monkey families. We added 10 new Strepsirrhini mt genomes to the 15 previously available ones, thus almost doubling the number of mt genomes within this clade. Our data allow precise date estimates of all nodes and offer new insights into primate evolution. One major result is a relatively young date for the most recent common ancestor of all living primates which was estimated to 66-69 million years ago, suggesting that the divergence of extant primates started close to the K/T-boundary. Although some relationships remain unclear, the large number of mt genomes used allowed us to reconstruct a robust primate phylogeny which is largely in agreement with previous publications. Finally, we show that mt genomes are a useful tool for resolving primate phylogenetic relationships on various taxonomic levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genome, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Phylogeny*
  • Primates / classification
  • Primates / genetics*

Grant support

This work was funded by the Max Planck Society and the German Primate Center. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.