Vertebrate genomes are larger than invertebrates and show evidence of extensive gene duplication, including many collinear chromosomal segments. On the basis of this intra-genomic synteny, it has been proposed that two rounds of whole genome duplication (octaploidy) occurred early in the vertebrate lineage. Recently, this early vertebrate octaploidy has been challenged on the basis of gene trees. We report new linkage groups encompassing the matrilin (MATN), syndecan (SDC), Eyes Absent (EYA), HCK kinase and SRC kinase paralogous gene quartets. In contrast to other studies, the sequence trees are weakly supportive of ancient octaploidy. It is concluded that there is no strong evidence against the octaploidy, provided that consecutive genome duplication was rapid.

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