, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 260-272

Mammalian mitochondrial DNA evolution: A comparison of the cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase II genes

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The evolution of two mitochondrial genes, cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, was examined in several eutherian mammal orders, with special emphasis on the orders Artiodactyla and Rodentia. When analyzed using both maximum parsimony, with either equal or unequal character weighting, and neighbor joining, neither gene performed with a high degree of consistency in terms of the phylogenetic hypotheses supported. The phylogenetic inconsistencies observed for both these genes may be the result of several factors including differences in the rate of nucleotide substitution among particular lineages (especially between orders), base composition bias, transition/transversion bias, differences in codon usage, and different constraints and levels of homoplasy associated with first, second, and third codon positions. We discuss the implications of these findings for the molecular systematics of mammals, especially as they relate to recent hypotheses concerning the polyphyly of the order Rodentia, relationships among the Artiodactyla, and various interordinal relationships.

Correspondence to: R.L. Honeycutt