Title

Molecular systematics of primary reptilian lineages and the tuatara mitochondrial genome

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2003

Abstract

We provide phylogenetic analyses for primary Reptilia lineages including, for the first time, Sphenodon punctatus (tuatara) using data from whole mitochondrial genomes. Our analyses firmly support a sister relationship between Sphenodon and Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes. Using Sphenodon as an outgroup for select squamates, we found evidence indicating a sister relationship, among our study taxa, between Serpentes (represented by Dinodon) and Varanidae. Our analyses support monophyly of Archosauria, and a sister relationship between turtles and archosaurs. This latter relationship is congruent with a growing set of morphological and molecular analyses placing turtles within crown Diapsida and recognizing them as secondarily anapsid (lacking a skull fenestration). Inclusion of Sphenodon, as the only surviving member of Sphenodontia (with fossils from the mid-Triassic), helps to fill a sampling gap within previous analyses of reptilian phylogeny. We also report a unique configuration for the mitochondrial genome of Sphenodon, including two tRNALys copies and an absence of ND5, tRNAHis, and tRNAThr genes. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

First Page

289

Last Page

297

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