Mitochondrial 12S rRNA
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The complete 12S rRNA gene has been sequenced in 4 Ungulata (hoofed eutherians) and 1 marsupial and compared to 38 available mammalian sequences in order to investigate the molecular evolution of the mitochondrial small-subunit ribosomal RNA molecule. Ungulata were represented by one artiodactyl (the collared peccary, Tayassu tajacu, suborder Suiformes), two perissodactyls (the Grevy's zebra, Equus grevyi, suborder Hippomorpha; the white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, suborder Ceratomorpha), and one hyracoid (the tree hyrax, Dendrohyrax dorsalis). The fifth species was a marsupial, the eastern gray kangaroo (Macropus giganteus). Several transition/transversion biases characterized the pattern of changes between mammalian 12S rRNA molecules. A bias toward transitions was found among 12S rRNA sequences of Ungulata, illustrating the general bias exhibited by ribosomal and protein-encoding genes of the mitochondrial genome. The derivation of a mammalian 12S rRNA secondary structure model from the comparison of 43 eutherian and marsupial sequences evidenced a pronounced bias against transversions in stems. Moreover, transversional compensatory changes were rare events within double-stranded regions of the ribosomal RNA. Evolutionary characteristics of the 12S rRNA were compared with those of the nuclear 18S and 28S rRNAs. From a phylogenetic point of view, transitions, transversions and indels in stems as well as transversional and indels events in loops gave congruent results for comparisons within orders. Some compensatory changes in double-stranded regions and some indels in single-stranded regions also constituted diagnostic events. The 12S rRNA molecule confirmed the monophyly of infraorder Pecora and order Cetacea and demonstrated the monophyly of suborder Suiformes. However, the monophyly of the suborder Ruminantia was not supported, and the branching pattern between Cetacea and the artiodactyl suborders Ruminantia and Suiformes was not established. The monophyly of the order Perissodactyla was evidenced, but the relationships between Artiodactyla, Cetacea, and Perissodactyla remained unresolved. Nevertheless, we found no support for a Perissodactyla + Hyracoidea clade, neither with distance approach, nor with parsimony reconstruction. The 12S rRNA was useful to solve intraordinal relationships among Ungulata, but it seemed to harbor too few informative positions to decipher the bushlike radiation of some Ungulata orders, an event which has most probably occurred in a short span of time between 55 and 70 MYA.
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