The complete mitochondrial sequence of the"living fossil" Tricholepidion gertschi: structure, phylogenetic implications, and the description of a novel A/T asymmetrical bias
Description: Traditionally, the 'Apterygota' has been thought to consist of five orders of wingless hexapods (Protura, Collembola, Diplura, Microcoryphia and Zygentoma) believed to be collectively basal to insects (i.e., the Pterygota). However, some studies have questioned this affinity with insects (Dallai, Abele, Spears, Nardi). Further, within these groups are hotly debated issues, including the monophyly of Entognata (Koch, 1997; Kukalova Peck, 1987), the monophyly of Diplura (Bilinski, 1993; Stys and Bilinski, 1990), the affinity between Collembola and Protura (Dallai, 1994; Kristensen, 1981) and the position of Lepidotrichidae (below). In fact, these relationships constitute one of the most debated issues in hexapod phylogeny. The family Lepidotrichidae was first described by (Silvestri, 1912) (1912: 'Lepidothricinae') from a Baltic Amber fossil (Lepidothrix pilifera Menge). The only living representative of this family is Tricholepidion gertschi Wygodzinski. Since this species was first described (Wygodzinsky, 1961) its phylogenetic position has been difficult to establish, due to an 'array of unique characters' that are difficult to interpret in a phylogenetic framework. Tricholepidion (and therefore the whole family Lepidotrichidae) has been considered either as belonging to the order Zygentoma (Kristensen, 1997; Wygodzinsky, 1961), or basal to the rest of the Zygentoma plus the Pterygota (Beutel, 2001; Bitsch and Bitsch, 2000; Staniczek, 2000), although the significance of some of the morphological characters on which these analyses are based have been questioned (Dallai et al., 2001; Kristensen, 1997). If the latter hypothesis proved to be true, the family Lepidotrichidae, would better deserve the ordinal rank. Since studies based on morphological characters have failed to give a satisfactory answer, a broad scale molecular study is under way ((Nardi et al., 2001), Frati et al, submitted, il Gomphiocephalus) in order to use mitochondrial genome sequences to study the evolution and differentiation of the most basal hexapod groups, including Tricholepidion. Mitochondrial genomics, that is ...
Date: June 23, 2002
Creator: Nardi, F.; Frati, F.; Carapelli, A.; Dallai, R. & Boore, J.
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