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Traditional approaches to phylogeny reconstruction have not allowed precise resolution of the evolutionary relationships between the major deuterostome phyla (chordates, hemichordates, echinoderms). Here we report the use of a molecular approach to investigate deuterostome phylogeny. We have used a polymerase chain reaction-based strategy to amplify, clone and sequence parts of the genes coding for 18S ribosomal RNA from Saccoglossus cambrensis (Hemichordata), Arbacia sp. (Echinodermata) and, for comparison, Mytilus edulis (Mollusca). We report the results of phylogenetic reconstructions using these, and homologous sequences from other eukaryotes. The results of our analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that S. cambrensis and vertebrates share a common ancestor not shared by echinoderms.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date





185 - 189


Animals, Base Sequence, DNA, Ribosomal, Humans, Invertebrates, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid