Molecular evolution of type I keratins. Phylogenetic tree based on Bayesian inference, illustrating the relationships of the K14 sequences from bichir, sturgeon and gar to the other type I keratins known from vertebrates. The tree was rooted with the lancelet type I keratin sequences. It clearly shows that the K14 sequences form a separate branch (boxed in violet) close to the sequences we cloned from the river lamprey. They even branch off prior to the twig formed by the gnathostomian K18 sequences (boxed in green) that apparently emerged before the separation of cartilaginous and bony fish. The tree, furthermore, suggests that most of the ray-finned fish type I keratins (boxed in blue) evolved independently from those present in lungfish, frog or man and that early in actinopterygian evolution gene duplications already gave rise to at least two different type I keratin groups with members in both, ancient and modern ray-finned fish. Importantly, within the tetrapod lineage the Bayesian analysis revealed four highly supported keratin subgroups, each with members in both, frog and man (encircled by dotted lines and coloured orange). Bar, 0.1 substitutions per site.