Phylogenomics reveals deep molluscan relationships
- Published online
Evolutionary relationships among the eight major lineages of Mollusca have remained unresolved despite their diversity and importance. Previous investigations of molluscan phylogeny, based primarily on nuclear ribosomal gene sequences1, 2, 3 or morphological data4, have been unsuccessful at elucidating these relationships. Recently, phylogenomic studies using dozens to hundreds of genes have greatly improved our understanding of deep animal relationships5. However, limited genomic resources spanning molluscan diversity has prevented use of a phylogenomic approach. Here we use transcriptome and genome data from all major lineages (except Monoplacophora) and recover a well-supported topology for Mollusca. Our results strongly support the Aculifera hypothesis placing Polyplacophora (chitons) in a clade with a monophyletic Aplacophora (worm-like molluscs). Additionally, within Conchifera, a sister-taxon relationship between Gastropoda and Bivalvia is supported. This grouping has received little consideration and contains most (>95%) molluscan species. Thus we propose the node-based name Pleistomollusca. In light of these results, we examined the evolution of morphological characters and found support for advanced cephalization and shells as possibly having multiple origins within Mollusca.