Phylogenetic analysis of arthropods using two nuclear protein–encoding genes supports a crustacean + hexapod clade

J. W. Shultz , J. C. Regier

Abstract

Recent phylogenetic analyses using molecular data suggest that hexapods are more closely related to crustaceans than to myriapods, a result that conflicts with long–held morphology–based hypotheses. Here we contribute additional information to this debate by conducting phylogenetic analyses on two nuclear protein–encoding genes, elongation factor–1α (EF–1α) and the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (Pol II), from an extensive sample of arthropod taxa. Results were obtained from two data sets. One data set comprised 1092 nucleotides (364 amino acids) of EF–1α and 372 nucleotides (124 amino acids) of Pol II from 30 arthropods and three lobopods. The other data set contained the same EF––lα fragment and an expanded 1038–nucleotide (346–amino–acid) sample of Pol II from 17 arthropod taxa. Results from maximum–parsimony and maximum–likelihood analyses strongly supported the existence of a Crustacea+ Hexapoda clade (Pancrustacea) over a Myriapoda + Hexapoda clade (Atelocerata). The apparent incompatibility between the molecule–based Pancrustacea hypothesis and morphology–based Atelocerata hypothesis is discussed.