Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 45–57 | Cite as

Congruency of phylogenies derived from different proteins

A Molecular Analysis of the Phylogenetic Position of Cracid Birds
  • Ellen M. Prager
  • Allan C. Wilson


This communication examines the question of phylogenetic congruency- i.e., whether or not the branching order of evolutionary trees is independent of the protein studied. It was found that trees constructed for birds on the basis of immunological comparison of their transferrins, albumins, and ovalbumins agree approximately with a published tree based on the amino acid sequences of their lysozymesc.

This congruency is especially noteworthy with respect to the phylogenetic position of the chachalaca, a Mexican bird classified on morphological grounds in the family Cracidae of the order Galliformes. At the protein level, this species differs as much from non-cracid galliform birds as does the duck, which belongs to another order. Despite the organismal similarity between cracid and non-cracid galliform birds, the molecular relationship is remote. If this contrast between organismal and molecular results had been based on comparative studies with only lysozyme, one could have ascribed the contrast to the possibility that chachalaca lysozyme was paralogous, rather than orthologous, to the other bird lysozymesc. Examination of several proteins is thus desirable in cases of possible paralogy.

Key words

Transferrin Albumin Ovalbumin Lysozyme Micro-complement fixation Bird evolution Chachalaca Duck Chicken Phasianoid birds 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen M. Prager
    • 1
  • Allan C. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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