, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 202-236

DNA hybridization evidence of hominoid phylogeny: A reanalysis of the data

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Sibley and Ahlquist (1984, 1987) presented the results of a study of 514 DNA-DNA hybrids among the hominoids and Old World monkeys (Cercopithecidae). They concluded that the branching order of the living hominoid lineages, from oldest to most recent, was gibbons, orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzees, and human. Thus, a chimpanzee-human clade was indicated, rather than the chimpanzee-gorilla clade usually suggested from morphological evidence. The positions of the gibbon and orangutan branches in the phylogeny are supported by substantial evidence, but whether the chimpanzee lineage branched most recently from the human lineage or from the gorilla lineage remains controversial. The conclusions of Sibley and Ahlquist (1984, 1987) have been supported by several independent studies cited by Sibley and Ahlquist (1987), plus the DNA sequence data of Hayasaka et al. (1988), Miyamoto et al. (1988), Goodman et al. (1989, 1990), and the DNA-DNA hybridization data of Caccone and Powell (1989). The laboratory and data analysis methods have been criticized by Marks et al. (1988) and Sarich et al. (1989). In response to these critics, and for our own interests, we present a reanalysis of the Sibley and Ahlquist data, including a description of the corrections applied to the “raw counts”. The validity of the laboratory methods is supported by the congruence of tree topology and delta values with those of Caccone and Powell (1989), although their tetraethylammonium chloride technique differs from the hydroxyapatite method in several respects. The utility of the T50H distance measure is indicated by its congruence with percent sequence divergence at least to delta T50H 30, as noted by Goodman et al. (1990). The Sibley and Ahlquist uncorrected data indicate thatPan is genetically closer toHomo than toGorilla, but thatGorilla may be genetically closer toPan than toHomo. Melting curves are presented for the pertiment experiments, plus one that includes representatives of most of the groups of living primates.