Abstract(Bio):DNA and evolution of mm

Michael Williamson (whe_william@flo.org)
Mon, 13 Dec 1994 14:39:16

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org>
Subject: Abstract(Bio):DNA and evolution of mm
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Date:         Mon, 12 Dec 1994 10:35:12 +0001
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{This one has nothing to do with me, but I thought it would be of
interest to many people, especially those who don't routinely scan the
molecular journals}
 
 
Graur, D. & Higgins, D.G.  1994.  Molecular evidence for the inclusion of
  cetaceans within the Order Artiodactyla.  Mol. Biol. Evol. 11: 357-364.
 
  The transition in the cetaceans from terrestrial life to a fully
aquatic existence is one of the most enduring evolutionary mysteries.
Resolving the phylogenetic relationships between Cetacea and other orders
of eutherian mammals may provide us with important clues to the origin of
whales and may help us date the evolutionary transition to aquatic life.
Previous paleontological and molecular evidence has indicated that
cetaceans and artiodactyls constitute a natural clade within subclass
Eutheria.  Our present phylogenetic analyses of protein and mitochondrial
DNA sequence data indicate that cetaceans are not only intimately related
to the artiodactyls; they are in fact deeply nested within the
artiodactyl phlogenetic tree; i.e., they are more closely related to the
members of one suborder of artiodactyls, the Ruminantia, than either
ruminants or cetaceans are to members of the other two artiodactyl
suborders: Suiformes and Tylopoda.  On the basis of rate of evolution of
mitochondrial DNA sequences and using paleontological reference dates for
calibration, we estimate that the whale lineage has branched off a
protoruminant lineage <50 Mya.  By implication, the cetacean transition
to aquatic life is inferred to be a relatively recent evolutionary event.
 
 
  Comments from the phylogenists...? (Michel, are you out there?)