Caenorhabditis phylogeny predicts convergence of hermaphroditism and extensive intron loss

Karin Kiontke, Nicholas P. Gavin, Yevgeniy Raynes, Casey Roehrig, Fabio Piano, David H A Fitcht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the prominence of Caenorhabditis elegans as a major developmental and genetic model system, its phylogenetic relationship to its closest relatives has not been resolved. Resolution of these relationships is necessary for studying the steps that underlie life history, genomic, and morphological evolution of this important system. By using data from five different nuclear genes from 10 Caenorhabditis species currently in culture, we find a well resolved phylogeny that reveals three striking patterns in the evolution of this animal group: (i) Hermaphroditism has evolved independently in C. elegans and its close relative Caenorhabditis briggsae; (ii) there is a large degree of intron turnover within Caenorhabditis, and intron losses are much more frequent than intron gains; and (iii) despite the lack of marked morphological diversity, more genetic disparity is present within this one genus than has occurred within all vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9003-9008
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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