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Turtles are one of Earth's most instantly recognizable life forms, distinguished for over 200 million years in the fossil record. Even so, key nodes in the phylogeny of turtles remain uncertain. To address this issue, we sequenced >90% of the nuclear recombination activase gene 1 (RAG-1) for 24 species representing all modern turtle families. RAG-1(More)
Documented cases of convergent molecular evolution due to selection are fairly unusual, and examples to date have involved only a few amino acid positions. However, because convergence mimics shared ancestry and is not accommodated by current phylogenetic methods, it can strongly mislead phylogenetic inference when it does occur. Here, we present a case of(More)
The rate of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) evolution has been carefully calibrated only in primates. Similarity between the primate calibration and rates estimated for other vertebrates has led to widespread assumption of a constant molecular clock in vertebrates even though this has never been rigorously tested. We report here the examination of mtDNA sequence(More)
Interest in elasmobranch biodiversity and taxonomy has grown in recent years, catalyzed primarily by four influences: (1) the large number of new species that have been described over the past 30 years (e.g., Last and Stevens, 2009); (2) the recognition that many species of elasmobranchs, several of which have not yet been formally described, may be(More)
Modern elasmobranchs (sharks skates and rays) are the extant survivors of one of the earliest offshoots of the vertebrate evolutionary tree. Their basal placement on the tree has drawn attention from researchers interested in understanding features characterizing the ancestral vertebrate condition. While their basal placement has long been appreciated, most(More)
Abstract The interface of protein structural biology, protein biophysics, molecular evolution, and molecular population genetics forms the foundations for a mechanistic understanding of many aspects of protein biochemistry. Current efforts in interdisciplinary protein modeling are in their infancy and the state-of-the art of such models is described. Beyond(More)
The phylogenetic position of Cetacea within the mammalian tree has long been a subject of debate. The traditional pale-ontological view is that an extinct order of mammals, the Mesonychia, is the sister taxon to Cetacea (e. The molecular evidence, by contrast, supports a phylogenetic hypothesis in which Cetacea is nested deeply within the Artiodactyla,(More)