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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Jul;20(1):78-88.

Molecular phylogenetics of the sexually deceptive orchid genus Ophrys (Orchidaceae) based on nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences.

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  • 1Geobotanical Institute, ETH Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 107, Zürich, CH-8008, Switzerland.


We present a phylogenetic analysis of the major lineages of the sexually deceptive orchid genus Ophrys based on nuclear ribosomal (nr) DNA (internal transcribed spacer region) and noncoding chloroplast (cp) DNA (trnL-trnF region) sequences. Sequence divergence within and among major Ophrys lineages was low for both nrDNA and cpDNA sequences. Separate analyses resulted in similar but poorly resolved trees. An incongruence length difference test revealed that nrDNA and cpDNA data sets were not incongruent. A combined analysis resulted in a better-resolved phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships among the major Ophrys lineages. Our data strongly support a division of Ophrys into two groups. These groups do not correspond to the earlier proposed sections Euophrys and Pseudophrys and are thus in conflict with traditional classifications. Our results support a well-resolved monophyletic group that contains the geographically widespread O. bombyliflora, O. speculum, O. tenthredinifera, and the O. fusca-lutea lineage. Relationships in the other group are poorly resolved. Based on our observations that taxa with identical sequences at presumably rapidly evolving loci clearly differ in floral morphology, we hypothesize that the diversity in the genus Ophrys is the result of a recent radiation in this orchid lineage.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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