Novel phylogeny of whales supported by total molecular evidence
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Given that the analysis of a single gene does not necessarily provide unambiguous phylogenetic information, it is important to scrutinize as many genes as possible. Using the maximum likelihood method, particularly suitable for a total evidence approach, we evaluated the phylogenetic information provided by the 12S and 16S rRNA, cytochrome b, and myoglobin sequence data in order to resolve one of the most debated phylogenetic questions: the relationships among the major groups of cetaceans. Our analysis strongly supports the hypothesis that sperm whales are closer to baleen whales than to dolphins.
Key wordsCetacean evolution Molecular phylogeny Total evidence Maximum likelihood Sperm whale
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