An Estimate of Divergence Time of Parazoa and Eumetazoa and That of Cephalochordata and Vertebrata by Aldolase and Triose Phosphate Isomerase Clocks
Previously we suggested that four proteins including aldolase and triose phosphate isomerase (TPI) evolved with approximately constant rates over long periods covering the whole animal phyla. The constant rates of aldolase and TPI evolution were reexamined based on three different models for estimating evolutionary distances. It was shown that the evolutionary rates remain essentially unchanged in comparisons not only between different classes of vertebrates but also between vertebrates and arthropods and even between animals and plants, irrespective of the models used. Thus these enzymes might be useful molecular clocks for inferring divergence times of animal phyla. To know the divergence time of Parazoa and Eumetazoa and that of Cephalochordata and Vertebrata, the aldolase cDNAs from Ephydatia fluviatilis, a freshwater sponge, and the TPI cDNAs from Ephydatia fluviatilis and Branchiostoma belcheri, an amphioxus, have been cloned and se-quenced. Comparisons of the deduced amino acid sequences of aldolase and TPI from the freshwater sponge with known sequences revealed that the Parazoa-Eumetazoa split occurred about 940 million years ago (Ma) as determined by the average of two proteins and three models. Similarly, the aldolase and TPI clocks suggest that vertebrates and amphioxus last shared a common ancestor around 700 Ma and they possibly diverged shortly after the divergence of deuterostomes and protostomes.
Key wordsDivergence time Molecular clock Aldolase Triose phosphate isomerase Sponge Amphioxus Evolution
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