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Careful with understudied phyla: The case of chaetognath

Marlétaz, F; Le Parco, Y; (2008) Careful with understudied phyla: The case of chaetognath. BMC Evolutionary Biology , 8 , Article 251. 10.1186/1471-2148-8-251. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: A recent study by Barthélémy et al. described a set of ribosomal protein (RP) genes extracted from a collection of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of the chaetognath (arrow worm) Spadella cephaloptera. Three main conclusions were drawn in this paper. First, the authors stated that RP genes present paralogous copies, which have arisen through allopolyploidization. Second, they reported two alternate nucleotide stretches conserved within the 5' untranslated regions (UTR) of multiple ribosomal cDNAs and they suggested that these motifs are involved in the differential transcriptional regulation of paralogous RP genes. Third, they claimed that the phylogenetic position of chaetognaths could not be accurately inferred from a RP dataset because of the persistence of two problems: a long branch attraction (LBA) artefact and a compositional bias. / Results: We reconsider here the results described in Barthélémy et al. and question the evidence on which they are based. We find that their evidence for paralogous copies relies on faulty PCR experiments since they attempted to amplify DNA fragments absent from the genomic template. Our PCR experiments proved that the conserved motifs in 5'UTRs that they targeted in their amplifications are added post-transcriptionally by a trans-splicing mechanism. Then, we showed that the lack of phylogenetic resolution observed by these authors is due to limited taxon sampling and not to LBA or to compositional bias. A ribosomal protein dataset thus fully supports the position of chaetognaths as sister group of all other protostomes. This reinterpretation demonstrates that the statements of Barthélémy et al. should be taken with caution because they rely on inaccurate evidence. / Conclusion: The genomic study of an unconventional model organism is a meaningful approach to understand the evolution of animals. However, the previous study came to incorrect conclusions on the basis of experiments that omitted validation procedures.

Type: Article
Title: Careful with understudied phyla: The case of chaetognath
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-8-251
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-8-251
Language: English
Additional information: This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Ribosomal Protein, Taxon Sampling, Compositional Bias, Long Branch Attraction Artifact, Relative Rate Test
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097260
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