A hierarchical molecular phylogeny within the genus daphnia

Niles Lehman, Michael E. Pfrender, Phillip A. Morin, Teresa J. Crease, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The nucleotide sequences of two mitochondrial DNA regions were used to determine phylogenetic relationships in the genus Daphnia (water fleas), a group for which systematics are historically unstable. A portion of the small ribosomal RNA was used to reconstruct higher-level relationships among species, while a portion of the more rapidly evolving control region was used to reconstruct lower-level relationships among populations. Two unexpected results were obtained. First, the subgeneric status of Ctenodaphnia falls into uncertainty on the basis of the failure of the 12S rRNA sequences to support these species as comprising an outgroup to the remainder of Daphnia species. Second, the high similarity of 12S rRNA sequences of Daphnia pulex and Daphnia pulicaria samples, coupled with the dual paraphyly of these samples as reconstructed from control-region analysis, suggests that they are two clonotype constellations within the same species complex. A combination of a variety of ecological influences has apparently resulted in the evolution of sets of Daphnia genotypes that are genetically cohesive despite their phenotypic divergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-407
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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