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Mol Biol Evol July 1, 1990; 7 (4): 365-76.

Phylogenetic relationships of the pipid frogs Xenopus and Silurana: an integration of ribosomal DNA and morphology.

de Sá RO , Hillis DM .

Relationships of the pipid frog genus Silurana (= Xenopus tropicalis group of some authors) are of particular interest to developmental and molecular biologists because of the purported ancestral (i.e., unduplicated) karyotype of S. tropicalis relative to the genus Xenopus. Although most previous studies have assumed that Silurana is the sister group of Xenopus, recent morphological work suggests that Silurana is more closely related both to the South American genus Pipa and to the African genera Hymenochirus and Pseudhymenochirus than it is to Xenopus. We examined 1,486 bp of relatively variable regions of the ribosomal DNA array (including portions of the 18S and 28S genes, as well as part of an internal transcribed spacer) in Hymenochirus, Silurana, and Xenopus, as well as the outgroup genus Spea, in order to test the alternative hypotheses of relationships for Silurana. Maximum-parsimony analysis using bootstrapping and an analysis using Lake''s method of invariants both significantly support the sister-group relationship between Xenopus and Silurana rather than the relationship suggested by morphology. Analysis of the combined morphological/molecular data matrix also significantly supports the Xenopus-Silurana relationship. Although our results are not inconsistent with the recognition of the genus Silurana to accommodate the species formerly called X. tropicalis and X. epitropicalis, the proposed relationships do not require the recognition of this genus in order to render Xenopus monophyletic.

PubMed ID: 2385174
Article link: Mol Biol Evol

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