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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 18, 1994; 91(2): 634–638.
PMCID: PMC43003

Plant mitochondrial nucleic acid sequences as a tool for phylogenetic analysis.

Abstract

To evaluate the potential of mitochondrial nucleic acid sequences as a phylogenetic tool, we have analyzed cytochrome oxidase subunit III (coxIII) coding sequences in representatives of the major groups of land plants. The phylogenetic tree derived from these mitochondrial sequences confirms the monophyletic origin of land plant mitochondria with the general order and descent of land plants deduced by other molecular, physiological, and morphological traits. The mitochondrial sequences strongly suggest a close phylogenetic relationship between Bryophyta and Lycopodiatae, whereas Psilophytatae cluster with the other vascular plants. In addition to the high sequence similarity, both Hepaticophytina and Lycopodiatae contain a related intron in the coxIII gene that, to our knowledge, is not found in any other plant species. The slowly evolving mitochondrial sequences of plants are shown to provide a useful phylogenetic tool to evaluate distant evolutionary relationships within this kingdom.

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