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      A common origin of complex life cycles in parasitic flatworms: evidence from the complete mitochondrial genome of Microcotyle sebastis (Monogenea: Platyhelminthes)

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          The parasitic Platyhelminthes (Neodermata) contains three parasitic groups of flatworms, each having a unique morphology, and life style: Monogenea (primarily ectoparasitic), Trematoda (endoparasitic flukes), and Cestoda (endoparasitic tapeworms). The evolutionary origin of complex life cyles (multiple obligate hosts, as found in Trematoda and Cestoda) and of endo-/ecto-parasitism in these groups is still under debate and these questions can be resolved, only if the phylogenetic position of the Monogenea within the Neodermata clade is correctly estimated.


          To test the interrelationships of the major parasitic flatworm groups, we estimated the phylogeny of the Neodermata using complete available mitochondrial genome sequences and a newly characterized sequence of a polyopisthocotylean monogenean Microcotyle sebastis. Comparisons of inferred amino acid sequences and gene arrangement patterns with other published flatworm mtDNAs indicate Monogenea are sister group to a clade of Trematoda+Cestoda.


          Results confirm that vertebrates were the first host for stem group neodermatans and that the addition of a second, invertebrate, host was a single event occurring in the Trematoda+Cestoda lineage. In other words, the move from direct life cycles with one host to complex life cycles with multiple hosts was a single evolutionary event. In association with the evolution of life cycle patterns, our result supports the hypothesis that the most recent common ancestor of the Neodermata giving rise to the Monogenea adopted vertebrate ectoparasitism as its initial life cycle pattern and that the intermediate hosts of the Trematoda (molluscs) and Cestoda (crustaceans) were subsequently added into the endoparasitic life cycles of the Trematoda+Cestoda clade after the common ancestor of these branched off from the monogenean lineage. Complex life cycles, involving one or more intermediate hosts, arose through the addition of intermediate hosts and not the addition of a vertebrate definitive host. Additional evidence is required from monopisthocotylean monogeneans in order to confirm the monophyly of the group.

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          Most cited references 56

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          MRBAYES: Bayesian inference of phylogenetic trees.

          The program MRBAYES performs Bayesian inference of phylogeny using a variant of Markov chain Monte Carlo. MRBAYES, including the source code, documentation, sample data files, and an executable, is available at http://brahms.biology.rochester.edu/software.html.
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            Phylogenetic Inference From Restriction Endonuclease Cleavage Site Maps with Particular Reference to the Evolution of Humans and the Apes

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              Models of amino acid substitution and applications to mitochondrial protein evolution.

              Models of amino acid substitution were developed and compared using maximum likelihood. Two kinds of models are considered. "Empirical" models do not explicitly consider factors that shape protein evolution, but attempt to summarize the substitution pattern from large quantities of real data. "Mechanistic" models are formulated at the codon level and separate mutational biases at the nucleotide level from selective constraints at the amino acid level. They account for features of sequence evolution, such as transition-transversion bias and base or codon frequency biases, and make use of physicochemical distances between amino acids to specify nonsynonymous substitution rates. A general approach is presented that transforms a Markov model of codon substitution into a model of amino acid replacement. Protein sequences from the entire mitochondrial genomes of 20 mammalian species were analyzed using different models. The mechanistic models were found to fit the data better than empirical models derived from large databases. Both the mutational distance between amino acids (determined by the genetic code and mutational biases such as the transition-transversion bias) and the physicochemical distance are found to have strong effects on amino acid substitution rates. A significant proportion of amino acid substitutions appeared to have involved more than one codon position, indicating that nucleotide substitutions at neighboring sites may be correlated. Rates of amino acid substitution were found to be highly variable among sites.

                Author and article information

                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central (London )
                2 February 2007
                : 7
                : 11
                [1 ]Department of Parasitology, College of Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763, Republic of Korea
                [2 ]Korea Food and Drug Administration, Seoul 122-704, Republic of Korea
                [3 ]School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-747, Republic of Korea
                [4 ]Department of Zoology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
                Copyright © 2007 Park et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Evolutionary Biology


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