Expressed sequence tags reveal Proctotrupomorpha (minus Chalcidoidea) as sister to Aculeata (Hymenoptera: Insecta)

Barbara J. Sharanowski, Barbara Robbertse, John Walker, S. Randal Voss, Ryan Yoder, Joseph Spatafora, Michael J. Sharkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Hymenoptera is one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet and have vital importance for ecosystem function as pollinators and parasitoids. Higher-level relationships among Hymenoptera have been notoriously difficult to resolve with both morphological and traditional molecular approaches. Here we examined the utility of expressed sequence tags for resolving relationships among hymenopteran superfamilies. Transcripts were assembled for 6 disparate Hymenopteran taxa with additional sequences added from public databases for a final dataset of 24 genes for 16 taxa and over 10. kb of sequence data. The concatenated dataset recovered a robust and well-supported topology demonstrating the monophyly of Holometabola, Hymenoptera, Apocrita, Aculeata, Ichneumonoidea, and a sister relationship between the two most closely related proctotrupomorphs in the dataset (Cynipoidea. +. Proctotrupoidea). The data strongly supported a sister relationship between Aculeata and Proctotrupomorpha, contrary to previously proposed hypotheses. Additionally there was strong evidence indicating Ichneumonoidea as sister to Aculeata. +. Proctotrupomorpha. These relationships were robust to missing data, nucleotide composition biases, low taxonomic sampling, and conflicting signal across gene trees. There was also strong evidence indicating that Chalcidoidea is not contained within Proctotrupomorpha.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully thank Chris Schardl, Eric Chapman, Dicky Yu, Andy Deans, Matt Yoder, and David Wiesrock, and two anonymous reviewers for insightful and thought-inspiring comments that greatly improved the paper. We extend sincere gratitude to Catherin Linnen, Bruce Webb, and Kimberly Ferrero for providing colony specimens. A special thanks to Matt Yoder for writing the perl script for the gene jackknife analysis. We acknowledge the Schisto Genome Network for creating the seqs2dbEST Perl script. We extend our appreciation to Brian Wiegmann, Marc Johnson, and Mark Miller for access to computational resources and software. We also thank Andy Boring, Ray Fisher, Kacie Johansen, Adam Kesheimer, Dicky Yu, and Terry Sharanowski for support with extensive bench work. Additionally, collaborations for this project were made possible through an Assembling the Tree of Life (AToL) symposium organized and supported by NSF. This project was funded through NSF Grant EF-0337220 and the lead author (B.J. Sharanowski) was supported by the Kentucky Opportunity Fellowship provided by the University of Kentucky during part of this project. Appendix A


  • Expressed sequence tags (ESTs)
  • Filtered supernetworks
  • Gene tree discordance
  • Hymenoptera
  • Phylogenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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