The Naked Coral'' Hypothesis Revisited - Evidence for and Against Scleractinian Monophyly
Kitahara, Marcelo Visentini [UNIFESP]
Lin, Mei Fang
Miller, David John
Chen, Chaolun Allen
Is part ofPlos One
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The relationship between Scleractinia and Corallimorpharia, Orders within Anthozoa distinguished by the presence of an aragonite skeleton in the former, is controversial. Although classically considered distinct groups, some phylogenetic analyses have placed the Corallimorpharia within a larger Scleractinia/Corallimorpharia clade, leading to the suggestion that the Corallimorpharia are naked corals'' that arose via skeleton loss during the Cretaceous from a Scleractinian ancestor. Scleractinian paraphyly is, however, contradicted by a number of recent phylogenetic studies based on mt nucleotide (nt) sequence data. Whereas the naked coral'' hypothesis was based on analysis of the sequences of proteins encoded by a relatively small number of mt genomes, here a much-expanded dataset was used to reinvestigate hexacorallian phylogeny. the initial observation was that, whereas analyses based on nt data support scleractinian monophyly, those based on amino acid (aa) data support the naked coral'' hypothesis, irrespective of the method and with very strong support. To better understand the bases of these contrasting results, the effects of systematic errors were examined. Compared to other hexacorallians, the mt genomes of Robust'' corals have a higher (A+T) content, codon usage is far more constrained, and the proteins that they encode have a markedly higher phenylalanine content, leading us to suggest that mt DNA repair may be impaired in this lineage. Thus the naked coral'' topology could be caused by high levels of saturation in these mitochondrial sequences, long-branch effects or model violations. the equivocal results of these extensive analyses highlight the fundamental problems of basing coral phylogeny on mitochondrial sequence data.
CitationPlos One. San Francisco: Public Library Science, v. 9, n. 4, 13 p., 2014.
SponsorshipNational Science Council (NSC)
Australian Research Council
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)
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