A mitogenomic study on the phylogenetic position of snakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Phylogenetic relationships of squamates (lizards, amphisbaenians and snakes) have received considerable attention, although no consensus has been reached concerning some basal divergences. This paper focuses on the Serpentes (snakes), whose phylogenetic position within the Squamata remains uncertain despite a number of morphological and molecular studies. Some mitogenomic studies have suggested a sister-group relationship between snakes and varanid lizards, while other studies have identified snakes and lizards as sister groups. However, recent studies using nuclear data have presented a different scenario, with snakes being more closely related to anguimorph and iguanian lizards. In this mitogenomic study we have examined the above hypotheses with the inclusion of amphisbaenians, one gekkotan and one acrodont lizard, taxa not represented in previous mitogenomic studies. To this end we have also extended the representation of snakes by sequencing five additional snake genomes: two scolecophidians (Ramphotyphlops australis and Typhlops mirus) two henophidians (Eunectes notaeus and Boa constrictor) and one caenophidian (Elaphe guttata). The phylogenetic analysis recovered snakes and amphisbaenians as sister groups, thereby differing from previous hypotheses. In addition to a discussion on previous morphological and molecular studies in light of the results presented here, the current study also provides some details regarding features of the new snake mitochondrial genomes described.

Details

Authors
  • Desiree Douglas
  • Axel Janke
  • Ulfur Arnason
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences

Keywords

  • Snakes, phylogeny, lizards, serpentes, mitogenomics, mitochondrial, genome
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-558
JournalZoologica Scripta
Volume35
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes