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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Feb;30(2):421-37.

A molecular phylogeny of Amazona: implications for Neotropical parrot biogeography, taxonomy, and conservation.

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  • 1Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Amazon parrots (Genus Amazona) are among the most recognizable and imperiled of all birds. Several hypotheses regarding the evolutionary history of Amazona are investigated using a combined phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data from six partitions including mitochondrial (COI, 12S, and 16S) and nuclear (beta-fibint7, RP40, and TROP) regions. The results demonstrate that Amazona is not monophyletic with respect to the placement of the Yellow-faced parrot (Amazona xanthops), as first implied by. In addition, the analysis corroborates previous studies suggesting a Neotropical short-tailed parrot genus as sister to Amazona. At a finer level, the phylogeny resolves the Greater Antillean endemic species as constituting a monophyletic group, including the Central American Amazona albifrons, while further revealing a paraphyletic history for the extant Amazon species of the Lesser Antilles. The reconstructed phylogeny provides further insights into the mainland sources of the Antillean Amazona, reveals areas of taxonomic uncertainty within the genus, and presents historical information that may be included in conservation priority-setting for Amazon parrots.

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