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Phylogeny and evolution of reproductive modes in Autolytinae (Syllidae, Annelida).

Journal article
Authors Arne Nygren
Per Sundberg
Published in Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 235-49
ISSN 1055-7903
Publication year 2003
Published at Department of Zoology
Department of Marine Ecology
Pages 235-49
Language en
Keywords Animals, Annelida, genetics, Bayes Theorem, DNA, Ribosomal, genetics, Evolution, Molecular, Likelihood Functions, Phylogeny, Reproduction, Sequence Analysis, DNA
Subject categories Morphology, Biological Systematics


The phylogeny of 31 autolytine taxa (Syllidae, Polychaeta, and Annelida) was estimated based on 16S rDNA and 18S rDNA sequences. Outgroups included 12 non-autolytine syllids and four other annelids from related groups. The phylogeny was used to trace the evolution of the various reproductive strategies (i.e., epigamy, anterior and posterior scissiparity, and gemmiparity) within the group, and it will also serve as a basis for a forthcoming revision of autolytine taxonomy. The two genes were analysed both separately and in combination using parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference. Regardless of method used the combined analysis supported a division of Autolytinae into three major clades: one with epigamous Autolytus; a second comprising Autolytus and Myrianida with posterior scissiparity and gemmiparity; and a third containing Proceraea, Procerastea, and Virchowia with anterior scissiparity. The relationship between these three groups is uncertain. Ancestral reproductive states were reconstructed with parsimony and maximum likelihood, and the results unequivocally support epigamy as the plesiomorphic reproductive mode in Syllidae, and that schizogamy in Syllinae and Autolytinae are separate events. The evolution of reproductive traits is ambiguous within Autolytinae, and either of the different reproductive modes could represent the ancestral state.

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