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A supermatrix-based molecular phylogeny of the family Drosophilidae

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 April 2010

The genus Drosophila is diverse and heterogeneous and contains a large number of easy-to-rear species, so it is an attractive subject for comparative studies. The ability to perform such studies is currently compromised by the lack of a comprehensive phylogeny for Drosophila and related genera. The genus Drosophila as currently defined is known to be paraphyletic with respect to several other genera, but considerable uncertainty remains about other aspects of the phylogeny. Here, we estimate a phylogeny for 176 drosophilid (12 genera) and four non-drosophilid species, using gene sequences for up to 13 different genes per species (average: 4333 bp, five genes per species). This is the most extensive set of molecular data on drosophilids yet analysed. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted with maximum-likelihood (ML) and Bayesian approaches. Our analysis confirms that the genus Drosophila is paraphyletic with 100% support in the Bayesian analysis and 90% bootstrap support in the ML analysis. The subgenus Sophophora, which includes Drosophila melanogaster, is the sister clade of all the other subgenera as well as of most species of six other genera. This sister clade contains two large, well-supported subclades. The first subclade contains the Hawaiian Drosophila, the genus Scaptomyza, and the virilis-repleta radiation. The second contains the immigrans-tripunctata radiation as well as the genera Hirtodrosophila (except Hirtodrosophila duncani), Mycodrosophila, Zaprionus and Liodrosophila. We argue that these results support a taxonomic revision of the genus Drosophila.

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*Corresponding author. Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4295. Tel: ++1-850-645-8521. Fax: ++1-850-644-9829. e-mail:
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