Controversy and consensus in asteroid systernatics: New insights to ordinal and familial relationships
SYNOPSIS. Phylogenetic approaches have sparked controversy in asteroid systematics since 1987. Despite recent attempts at resolving these differences and evidence of some consensus, our understanding of relationships among asteroid taxa remains unsatisfactory. This paper presents results'of an investigation into asteroid evolutionary history using DNA sequence data from mitochondria! transfer RNA and the cytochrome oxidase c subunit I genes analyzed with and without previously published ribosomal gene sequences. Analysis of these genes provides an assessment of familial relationships but does little to elucidate ordinal relationships. A basal position for the Paxillosida is not supported. However, close relationships of some vlatid and valvatid taxa are upheld. The resulting phytogenies are not a definitive answer to controversies in asteroid systematic. However, with new insights to some asteroid relationships, they highlight the need for a redirection of future systematic studies so a consensus can be made.
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