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The nucleotide sequence of a 307 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome-6 gene was determined for 12 species of parrot, using the polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing. Sequence divergence ranged from 26–54 differences in pairwise comparisons, with the majority of base substitutions occurring at third positions of codons. The transitionrtransversion ratio was determined to be higher (approximately 24.3:1) in recently divergent parrot lineages than has generally been observed in other groups. Strongly biased base composition, particularly at the third position of codons, is evident among the sequences. Phylogenetic relationships among more divergent taxa were estimated, using only transversion substitutions, while all the substitutions were useful for closely related taxa. The African genera Psittacus and Pokephalus are closely related, in contrast to the Australian genera Nymphicus, Purpureicephalus and Melopsittacus, which represent more divergent lineages. The cockatoos appear to represent an ancient lineage within the parrots.
|Department(s):||Science, Faculty of > Biology|
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