A molecular phylogeny of bivalve mollusks: ancient radiations and divergences as revealed by mitochondrial genes

Plazzi, Federico (2011) A molecular phylogeny of bivalve mollusks: ancient radiations and divergences as revealed by mitochondrial genes, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione - biodiversity and evolution, 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3729.
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The main scope of my PhD is the reconstruction of the large-scale bivalve phylogeny on the basis of four mitochondrial genes, with samples taken from all major groups of the class. To my knowledge, it is the first attempt of such a breadth in Bivalvia. I decided to focus on both ribosomal and protein coding DNA sequences (two ribosomal encoding genes -12s and 16s -, and two protein coding ones - cytochrome c oxidase I and cytochrome b), since either bibliography and my preliminary results confirmed the importance of combined gene signals in improving evolutionary pathways of the group. Moreover, I wanted to propose a methodological pipeline that proved to be useful to obtain robust results in bivalves phylogeny. Actually, best-performing taxon sampling and alignment strategies were tested, and several data partitioning and molecular evolution models were analyzed, thus demonstrating the importance of molding and implementing non-trivial evolutionary models. In the line of a more rigorous approach to data analysis, I also proposed a new method to assess taxon sampling, by developing Clarke and Warwick statistics: taxon sampling is a major concern in phylogenetic studies, and incomplete, biased, or improper taxon assemblies can lead to misleading results in reconstructing evolutionary trees. Theoretical methods are already available to optimize taxon choice in phylogenetic analyses, but most involve some knowledge about genetic relationships of the group of interest, or even a well-established phylogeny itself; these data are not always available in general phylogenetic applications. The method I proposed measures the "phylogenetic representativeness" of a given sample or set of samples and it is based entirely on the pre-existing available taxonomy of the ingroup, which is commonly known to investigators. Moreover, it also accounts for instability and discordance in taxonomies. A Python-based script suite, called PhyRe, has been developed to implement all analyses.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Plazzi, Federico
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
bayesian inference bivalves symplesiomorphies phylogenetic signal phylogenetics
Data di discussione
4 Maggio 2011

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