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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Jun;39(3):722-33. Epub 2006 Mar 3.

Wax plants disentangled: a phylogeny of Hoya (Marsdenieae, Apocynaceae) inferred from nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences.

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  • 1Systematic Botany, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Menzinger Strasse 67, D-80638 Munich, Germany.


Hoya (Marsdenieae, Apocynaceae) includes at least 200 species distributed from India to the Pacific Islands. We here infer major species groups in the genus based on combined sequences from the chloroplast atpB-rbcL spacer, the trnL region, and nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS region for 42 taxa of Hoya and close relatives. To assess levels of ITS polymorphism, ITS sequences for a third of the accessions were obtained by cloning. Most ITS clones grouped by species, indicating that speciation in Hoya usually predates ITS duplication. One ITS sequence of H. carnosa, however, grouped with a sequence of the morphologically similar H. pubicalyx, pointing to recent hybridization or the persistence of paralogous copies through a speciation event. The topology resulting from the combined chloroplast and nuclear data recovers some morphology-based sections, such as Acanthostemma and Eriostemma, as well as a well-supported Australian/New Guinean clade. The combined data also suggest that morphological adaptations for ant-symbiosis evolved at least three times within Hoya.

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