The Comparison of β-Thymosin Homologues Among Metazoa Supports an Arthropod-Nematode Clade
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The definition of an Ecdysozoa clade among the protostomians, including all phyla with a regularly molted α-chitin-rich cuticle, has been one of the most provocative hypotheses to arise from recent investigations on animal phylogeny. Here we present evidence in favor of an arthropod-nematode clade, from the comparison of β-thymosin homologues among the Metazoa. Arthropods and nematodes share the absence of the highly conserved β-thymosin form found in all other documented bilaterian phyla as well as sponges, and the possession of a very unusual, internally triplicated homologue of the β-thymosin protein, unknown in other phyla. We argue that such discrete molecular character is phylogenetically very powerful and provides strong evidence for the monophyly of an arthropod-nematode clade.
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