Project Info

Molecular Morphology of the Metazoa, With Special Reference to the Lophotrochozoa (MolMorph)

Summary: Within the "New Animal Phylogeny" the concept of Lophotrochozoa (i.e. inclusion of Lophophorata = Tentaculata and Spiralia in one clade to the exclusion of Arthropoda) is still one of the heavily debated points. Up to now molecular data have failed to infer the interrelationship of lophotrochozoan phyla, and available morphological data are not conclusive. The highly innovative type of analysis called molecular morphology" (i.e., the morphological analysis of 2D- or 3D-structure of the studied molecules) should provide new and valuable data fields. The 2D-/3D-structures of genes usually applied for "deep phylogeny" (18 S and 28S rDNA, EF1a; HSP70, Myosin II) are known to be much more conservative than the primary structure (the linear sequence). In particular "InDels" (insertions or deletions) become highly significant characters in the 2D-/3D-image. Focusing on the lophotrochozoan taxa, where a large number of well-accepted clades exist, the molecular-morphological data-set will be tested and will add new characters to be considered. The type of data can be directly added to a morphological data-matrix and will probably also improve the quality of the sequence analysis in order to provide better insights for evolutionary modelling of sequence substitution models.


Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar, Zoologische Staatssammlung Muenchen, Muenchen