The traditional view that Testudines (tortoises and turtles) should be regarded as the surviving clade of the anapsid reptiles rather than classified with the diapsid reptiles (snakes, lizards, and crocodiles) has recently been challenged. Neuropeptide Y, neuropeptide γ, and somatostatin-14 were isolated from an extract of the brain, substance P and galanin from an extract of the intestine, and insulin and pancreatic polypeptide from an extract of the pancreas of the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii. Despite that crocodilians did not appear until the late Triassic, the amino acid sequences of the tortoise peptides resemble those of the American alligator quite closely. The primary structures of neuropeptide Y, somatostatin-14, and neuropeptide γ are the same in tortoise and alligator. The primary structures of substance P, insulin, galanin, and pancreatic polypeptide in the two species differ by 1, 3, 5, and 8 amino acid residues, respectively. Although fewer neurohormonal peptides from squamates (lizards and snakes) have been characterized, the primary structures of neuropeptide γ, insulin, and pancreatic polypeptide from the Burmese python and the desert tortoise differ by 3, 8, and 18 residues, respectively. The data suggest, therefore, a closer phylogenetic relationship between Testudines and Crocodilians than that derived from 'classical' analyses based on morphological criteria and the fossil record. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.
- Gastrointestinal neuropeptides
- Pancreatic polypeptide
- Reptilian phylogeny
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience