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Ancient DNA analysis reveals woolly rhino evolutionary relationships

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  • Ludovic Orlando
  • Jennifer A. Leonard
  • Aurélie Thenot
  • Vincent Laudet
  • Claude Guerin
  • Catherine Hänni

With ancient DNA technology, DNA sequences have been added to the list of characters available to infer the phyletic position of extinct species in evolutionary trees. We have sequenced the entire 12S rRNA and partial cytochrome b (cyt b) genes of one 60-70,000-year-old sample, and partial 12S rRNA and cyt b sequences of two 40-5,000-year-old samples of the extinct woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis). Based on these two mitochondrial markers, phylogenetic analyses show that C. antiquitatis is most closely related to one of the three extant Asian rhinoceros species, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. Calculations based on a molecular clock suggest that the lineage leading to C. antiquitatis and D. sumatrensis diverged in the Oligocene, 21-26 MYA. Both results agree with morphological models deduced from palaeontological data. Nuclear inserts of mitochondrial DNA were identified in the ancient specimens. These data should encourage the use of nuclear DNA in future ancient DNA studies. It also further establishes that the degraded nature of ancient DNA does not completely protect ancient DNA studies based on mitochondrial data from the problems associated with nuclear inserts.

TidsskriftMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)485-499
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2003
Eksternt udgivetJa

ID: 226118270