Genome-scale evidence of the nematode-arthropod clade

TitleGenome-scale evidence of the nematode-arthropod clade
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsDopazo, H, Dopazo, J
JournalGenome Biol
KeywordsAnimals Arthropods/*classification/genetics Caenorhabditis elegans/classification/genetics Evolution; Molecular *Genome Genomics Nematoda/*classification/genetics *Phylogeny

BACKGROUND: The issue of whether coelomates form a single clade, the Coelomata, or whether all animals that moult an exoskeleton (such as the coelomate arthropods and the pseudocoelomate nematodes) form a distinct clade, the Ecdysozoa, is the most puzzling issue in animal systematics and a major open-ended subject in evolutionary biology. Previous single-gene and genome-scale analyses designed to resolve the issue have produced contradictory results. Here we present the first genome-scale phylogenetic evidence that strongly supports the Ecdysozoa hypothesis. RESULTS: Through the most extensive phylogenetic analysis carried out to date, the complete genomes of 11 eukaryotic species have been analyzed in order to find homologous sequences derived from 18 human chromosomes. Phylogenetic analysis of datasets showing an increased adjustment to equal evolutionary rates between nematode and arthropod sequences produced a gradual change from support for Coelomata to support for Ecdysozoa. Transition between topologies occurred when fast-evolving sequences of Caenorhabditis elegans were removed. When chordate, nematode and arthropod sequences were constrained to fit equal evolutionary rates, the Ecdysozoa topology was statistically accepted whereas Coelomata was rejected. CONCLUSIONS: The reliability of a monophyletic group clustering arthropods and nematodes was unequivocally accepted in datasets where traces of the long-branch attraction effect were removed. This is the first phylogenomic evidence to strongly support the ’moulting clade’ hypothesis.


Dopazo, Hernan Dopazo, Joaquin Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t England Genome biology Genome Biol. 2005;6(5):R41. Epub 2005 Apr 28.