A consensus on molluscan relationships has yet to be achieved, largely because of conflicting morphological and molecular hypotheses. Monoplacophora show marked seriality of ctenidia, atria, muscles and nephridia and this has been interpreted as plesiomorphic for Mollusca, reflecting a segmented ancestry. More recently this seriality, also partly seen in Polyplacophora, has been seen as a derived condition. Analysis of the first published monoplacophoran DNA sequence from Laevilipilina antarctica Waren & Hain, 1992 [Giribet, G., Okusu, A., Lindgren, A.R., Huff, S., Schrodl, M., Nishiguchi, M.K., 2006. Evidence for a clade composed of molluscs with serially repeated structures: Monoplacophorans are related to chitons. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 7723-7728. 10.1073/pnas.0602578103], showed Monoplacophora inside Polyplacophora. These taxa were then grouped under the name Serialia, reflecting the hypothesis that their seriality is a synapomorphy. Subsequent examination revealed that part of the L. antarctica published sequence was the result of contamination with Polyplacophora (Giribet, Supplementary Material S1). We collected and sequenced another monoplacophoran, Laevipilina hyalina McLean, 1979, resulting in the first multi-gene dataset representing all molluscan classes. Our analyses did not show unambiguous support for Serialia. Model-based approaches strongly supported Serialia as a clade, however, parsimony analyses under dynamic and static homology did not resolve the position of Monoplacophora. Although our study provides support for Serialia and none for Conchifera, it appears that further resolution of molluscan relationships will require large increases of data.
A well-corroborated morphological scheme of interrelationships for centipedes, once broadly accepted, has been in conflict with molecular data with respect to deep branching events. Expanded taxonomic coverage compared to previous analyses adds longer fragments for 28S rRNA and a structural alignment as part of a sample of four genes (two nuclear ribosomal and two mitochondrial) for 111 extant species; these sequence data are combined with morphology under parsimony and maximum likelihood, exploring both traditional multiple sequence alignment and direct optimization approaches. Novel automated procedures to incorporate secondary structure information are also explored. The molecular data in combination yield trees that are highly congruent with morphology as regards the monophyly of all centipede orders as well as the major groups within each of the large orders. Regardless of the optimality criterion or alignment strategy, the Tasmanian/New Zealand Craterostigmomorpha is resolved in a different position by the molecular data than by morphology. Addition of morphology overturns the placement of Craterostigmomorpha in favour of the traditional morphological resolution and eliminates the need to posit major character reversals with respect to developmental mode and maternal care. Calibration of the tree with Palaeozoic and Mesozoic fossils for a relaxed clock analysis corroborates the palaeontological signal that divergences between centipede orders date to the Silurian and earliest Devonian, and familial divergences are likewise almost wholly Palaeozoic.