Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 201–208 | Cite as

Evolution of the common cetacean highly repetitive DNA component and the systematic position of Orcaella brevirostris

  • S. Grétarsdóttir
  • Ú. Árnason


The common cetacean highly repetitive DNA component was analyzed with respect to its evolution and value for establishing phylogenetic relationships. The repeat length of the component, which is tandemly organized, is ≈ 1750 by in all cetaceans except the delphinids, in which the repeat length is ≈ 1580 bp.

The evolution of the component was studied after sequencing the component in different odontocetes representing the Delphinidae (delphinids), Monodontidae (narwhals), and Ziphiidae (beaked whales). The evolution of this component is very slow, and comparisons showed that sequence divergence among species corresponds closely to their generally accepted phylogenetic relationships and that the component evolves in a concerted manner.

The phylogenetic information obtained in this study identified the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) as a delphinid and did not support a close relationship of this species with the Monodontidae.

Key words

Highly repetitive DNA Cetacea Evolutionary rates Molecular phylogeny 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Grétarsdóttir
    • 1
  • Ú. Árnason
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Genetics, The Wallenberg LaboratoryUniversity of LundLundSweden

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