Biochemical Characters and the Reconstruction of Turtle Phylogenies: Relationships among Batagurine Genera Academic Article uri icon


  • Phenetic and cladistic approaches were used to assess relationships among 22 species representing 17 genera of batagurine turtles, and 2 species representing 2 genera of emydine turtles. Phenograms and cladograms were constructed from a total of 90 variable enzyme products (electromorphs) of 14 gene loci. Phenograms were generated by UPGMA clustering using genetic similarity, identity, and distance matrices, and a Wagner tree was constructed from a binary-coded character matrix. A qualitative locus-by-locus cladistic approach was also attempted, and in this as well as in our application of the Wagner algorithm, a species of the sister group family Testudinidae was used as the outgroup taxon. Results of the three approaches are evaluated relative to each other, and relative to relationships that have previously been proposed with other lines of evidence. Some of the clades generated by one or more of the approaches used in this study are particularly strongly corroborated by chromosomal and osteological data sets. High genetic distances between some taxa, and high levels of inferred homoplasy suggest that divergence among many species approaches the limits of electrophoretic resolution and, as a result, several cladistic hypotheses are presented for some taxa. Where results are inconclusive, however, they are useful to the extent that they draw attention to contradictory data sets and alternative hypotheses of intergeneric relationships. 1984 Society of Systematic Zoology.

published proceedings

  • Systematic Biology

author list (cited authors)

  • Sites, J. W., Bickham, J. W., Pytel, B. A., Greenbaum, I. F., & Bates, B. A.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Sites, JW||Bickham, JW||Pytel, BA||Greenbaum, IF||Bates, BA

publication date

  • June 1984