Evaluation of the gene encoding translation termination factor eRF3 as a possible phylogenetic marker

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Abstract

The region of the nuclear GSPT2 gene coding for the N and M domains of translation termination factor eRF3b was tested in Rodentia for applicability as a new molecular marker. It cannot be used as a phylogenetic marker at the intrageneric level because of insufficient variability within families and the impossibility of resolving relationships in the family Cricetidae. However, this GSPT2 region allows reliable identification of higher taxa. The phylogenetic relationships among families revealed with the proposed molecular marker is generally in agreement with current concepts. The new marker indicates a close relationship between the genus Acomys and the family Gerbillidae, which is in agreement with other molecular data but contradicts morphological data. Thus, the region of the nuclear GSPT2 gene encoding the N and M domains of eRF3b can serve as an adequate phylogenetic marker in placental mammals at the level of families or higher taxa. It can also be used in solving controversial questions of phylogeny and taxonomy.

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