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The origin of many of the defining features of animal body plans, such as symmetry, nervous system, and the mesoderm, remains shrouded in mystery because of major uncertainty regarding the emergence order of the early branching taxa: the sponge groups, ctenophores, placozoans, cnidarians, and bilaterians. The "phylogenomic" approach [1] has recently(More)
Despite expanding data sets and advances in phylogenomic methods, deep-level metazoan relationships remain highly controversial. Recent phylogenomic analyses depart from classical concepts in recovering ctenophores as the earliest branching metazoan taxon and propose a sister-group relationship between sponges and cnidarians (e.g., Dunn CW, Hejnol A, Matus(More)
BACKGROUND Animal mitochondrial (mt) genomes are characteristically circular molecules of approximately 16-20 kb. Medusozoa (Cnidaria excluding Anthozoa) are exceptional in that their mt genomes are linear and sometimes subdivided into two to presumably four different molecules. In the genus Hydra, the mt genome comprises one or two mt chromosomes. Here, we(More)
The phylogenetic diversification of Hexapoda is still not fully understood. Morphological and molecular analyses have resulted in partly contradicting hypotheses. In molecular analyses, 18S sequences are the most frequently employed, but it appears that 18S sequences do not contain enough phylogenetic signals to resolve basal relationships of hexapod(More)
The complete mitochondrial genomes of two reptiles, the common iguana (Iguana iguana) and the caiman (Caiman crocodylus), were sequenced in order to investigate phylogenetic questions of tetrapod evolution. The addition of the two species allows analysis of reptilian relationships using data sets other than those including only fast-evolving species. The(More)
BACKGROUND DNA barcoding is a promising tool to facilitate a rapid and unambiguous identification of sponge species. Demosponges of the order Dictyoceratida are particularly challenging to identify, but are of ecological as well as biochemical importance. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Here we apply DNA barcoding with the standard CO1-barcoding marker on(More)
BACKGROUND Phylogenetic studies using expressed sequence tags (EST) are becoming a standard approach to answer evolutionary questions. Such studies are usually based on large sets of newly generated, unannotated, and error-prone EST sequences from different species. A first crucial step in EST-based phylogeny reconstruction is to identify groups of(More)
In this study we report the first animal invasion, to our knowledge, into Lake Malawi. The colonizer is a non-native morph of the gastropod Melanoides tuberculata that differs substantially in external shell characters from co-occurring indigenous forms. However, because the species possesses extensive within-Africa geographical variation in shell(More)
BACKGROUND The mitochondrial (mt) genomes of sponges possess a variety of features, which appear to be intermediate between those of Eumetazoa and non-metazoan opisthokonts. Among these features is the presence of long intergenic regions, which are common in other eukaryotes, but generally absent in Eumetazoa. Here we analyse poriferan mitochondrial(More)
BACKGROUND Phylum Porifera includes ∼8,500 valid species distributed world-wide in aquatic ecosystems ranging from ephemeral fresh-water bodies to coastal environments and the deep-sea. The taxonomy and systematics of sponges is complicated, and morphological identification can be both time consuming and erroneous due to phenotypic convergence and secondary(More)