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Limitations of Metazoan 18S rRNA Sequence Data: Implications for Reconstructing a Phylogeny of the Animal Kingdom and Inferring the
 

Summary: Limitations of Metazoan 18S rRNA Sequence Data: Implications for
Reconstructing a Phylogeny of the Animal Kingdom and Inferring the
Reality of the Cambrian Explosion
Ehab Abouheif, Rafael Zardoya,* Axel Meyer
Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5245, USA
Received: 9 December 1997 / Accepted: 23 March 1998
Abstract. We document the phylogenetic behavior of
the 18S rRNA molecule in 67 taxa from 28 metazoan
phyla and assess the effects of among-site rate variation
on reconstructing phylogenies of the animal kingdom.
This empirical assessment was undertaken to clarify fur-
ther the limits of resolution of the 18S rRNA gene as a
phylogenetic marker and to address the question of
whether 18S rRNA phylogenies can be used as a source
of evidence to infer the reality of a Cambrian explosion.
A notable degree of among-site rate variation exists be-
tween different regions of the 18S rRNA molecule, as
well as within all classes of secondary structure. There is
a significant negative correlation between inferred num-
ber of nucleotide substitutions and phylogenetic infor-

  

Source: Abouheif, Ehab - Department of Biology, McGill University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology