The phylum Cnidaria is usually divided into five classes: Anthozoa, Cubozoa, Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa and Staurozoa. The class Anthozoa is subdivided into two subclasses: Hexacorallia and Octocorallia. Morphological and molecular studies based on nuclear rDNA and recent phylogenomic studies support the monophyly of Anthozoa. On the other hand, molecular studies based on mitochondrial markers, including two recent studies based on mitogenomic data, supported the paraphyly of Anthozoa, and positioned Octocorallia as sister group to Medusozoa (the monophyletic group of Cubozoa, Hydrozoa and Scyphozoa). On the basis of 51 nuclear orthologs from four hexacorallians, four octocorallians, two hydrozoans and one scyphozoan (with poriferans and Homo sapiens as out-groups), we built a multilocus alignment of 9 873 amino acids, which aimed at minimizing missing data and hidden paralogy, in order to understand the discrepancy between nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies. Our phylogenetic analyses strongly supported the monophyly of Anthozoa. We compared the level of substitution saturation between our data set, the data sets of two recent phylogenomic studies and one of a mitogenomic study. We found that mitochondrial DNA is more saturated than nuclear DNA at all the phylogenetic levels studied. Our results emphasize the need for a good evaluation of phylogenetic signal.
Pratlong, M., Rancurel, C., Pontarotti, P., and Aurelle, D. (2017). Monophyly of Anthozoa (Cnidaria): why do nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies disagree? Zool Scr 46, 363–371. DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12208