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The mitogenomic phylogeny of the Elasmobranchii (Chondrichthyes)

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journal contribution
posted on 20.09.2017, 08:00 authored by Cesar R. L. Amaral, Filipe Pereira, Dayse A. Silva, António Amorim, Elizeu F. de Carvalho

Here we present a mitogenomic perspective on the evolution of sharks and rays, being a first glance on the complete mitochondrial history of such an old and diversified group of vertebrates. The Elasmobranchii is a diverse subclass of Chondrichthyes, or cartilaginous fish, with about 1200 species of ocean- and freshwater-dwelling fishes spread all over the world’s seas, including some of the ocean’s largest fishes. The group dates back about 400 million years near the Devonian–Silurian boundary, being nowadays represented by several derivative lineages, mainly related to Mesozoic forms. Although considered of ecological, commercial and conservation importance, the phylogeny of this old group is poorly studied and still under debate. Here we apply a molecular systematic approach on 82 complete mitochondrial genomes to investigate the phylogeny of the Elasmobranchii. By using maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian analyses, we found a clear separation within the shark clade between the Galeomorphii and the Squalomorphii, as well as sister taxa relationships between the Carcharhiniformes and the Lamniformes. Moreover, we found that Pristoidei clusters within the Rhinobatoidei, having been recovered as the sister taxon of the Rhinobatos genus in a clade which also includes the basal Zapteryx. Our results also reject the Hypnosqualea hypothesis, which proposes that the Batoidea should be placed within the Selachii.


This study was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, FEDER-Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional funds through the COMPETE 2020-Operacional Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation (POCI), Portugal 2020, and by Portuguese funds through FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia/Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação in the framework of the project “Institute for Research and Innovation in Health Sciences” (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007274). FP was supported by Investigator FCT (IF/01356/2012) and MARINFO (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000031).