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Analysis of Cytochrome b nucleotide sequences of the six extant species of Atlantic alcids and a gull revealed an excess of adenines and cytosines and a deficit of guanines at silent sites on the coding strand. Phylogenetic analyses grouped the sequences of the common (Uria aalge) and Brünnich's (U. lomvia) guillemots, followed by the razorbill (Alca torda) and little auk (Alle alle). The black guillemot (Cepphus grylle) sequence formed a sister taxon, and the puffin (Fratercula arctica) fell outside the other alcids. Phylogenetic comparisons of substitutions indicated that mutabilities of bases did not differ, but that C was much more likely to be incorporated than was G. Imbalances in base composition appear to result from a strand bias in replication errors, which may result from selection on secondary RNA structure and/or the energetics of codon-anticodon interactions.
|Department(s):||Science, Faculty of > Biology|
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