Utility of the white gene in estimating phylogenetic relationships among mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Mol Biol Evol. 1997 Apr;14(4):442-54. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025780.


The utility of a nuclear protein-coding gene for reconstructing phylogenetic relationships within the family Culicidae was explored. Relationships among 13 species representing three subfamilies and nine genera of Culicidae were analyzed using a 762-bp fragment of coding sequence from the eye color gene, white. Outgroups for the study were two species from the sister group Chaoboridae. Sequences were determined from clone PCR products amplified from genomic DNA, and aligned following conceptual intron splicing and amino acid translation. Third codon positions were characterized by high levels of divergence and biased nucleotide composition, the intensity and direction of which varied among taxa. Equal weighting of all characters resulted in parsimony and neighboring-joining trees at odds with the generally accepted phylogenetic hypothesis based on morphology and rDNA sequences. The application of differential weighting schemes recovered the traditional hypothesis, in which the subfamily Anophelinae formed the basal clade. The subfamily Toxorhynchitinae occupied an intermediate position, and was a sister group to the subfamily Culicinae. Within Culicinae, the genera Sabethes and Tripteroides formed an ancestral clade, while the Culex-Deinocerites and Aedes-Haemagogus clades occupied increasingly derived positions in the molecular phylogeny. An intron present in the Culicinae-Toxorhynchitinae lineage and one outgroup taxon was absent in the basal Anophelinae lineage and the second outgroup taxon, suggesting that intron insertions or deletions may not always be reliable systematic characters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Culicidae / classification*
  • Culicidae / genetics
  • DNA
  • Eye Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity


  • Eye Proteins
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U29485
  • GENBANK/U73826
  • GENBANK/U73827
  • GENBANK/U73828
  • GENBANK/U73829
  • GENBANK/U73830
  • GENBANK/U73831
  • GENBANK/U73832
  • GENBANK/U73833
  • GENBANK/U73834
  • GENBANK/U73835
  • GENBANK/U73836
  • GENBANK/U73837
  • GENBANK/U73838
  • GENBANK/U73839