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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 Sep;44(3):1237-56. Epub 2007 May 6.

Molecular phylogeny of the Siphonocladales (Chlorophyta: Cladophorophyceae).

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  • 1Phycology Research Group and Centre for Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Biology Department, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. frederik.leliaert@ugent.be

Abstract

The Siphonocladales are tropical to warm-temperate, marine green macro-algae characterized by a wide variety of thallus morphologies, ranging from branched filaments to pseudo-parenchymatous plants. Phylogenetic analyses of partial large subunit (LSU) rDNA sequences sampled from 166 isolates revealed nine well-supported siphonocladalean clades. Analyses of a concatenated dataset of small subunit (SSU) and partial LSU rDNA sequences greatly clarified the phylogeny of the Siphonocladales. However, the position of the root of the Siphonocladales could not be determined unambiguously, as outgroup rooting and molecular clock rooting resulted in a different root placement. Different phylogenetic methods (likelihood, parsimony and distance) yielded similar tree topologies with comparable internal node resolution. Likewise, analyses under more realistic models of sequence evolution, taking into account differences in evolution between stem and loop regions of rRNA, did not differ markedly from analyses using standard four-state models. The molecular phylogeny revealed that all siphonocladalean architectures may be derived from a single Cladophora-like ancestor. Parallel and convergent evolution of various morphological characters (including those traditionally employed to circumscribe the families and genera) have occurred in the Siphonocladales. Consequently, incongruence with traditional classifications, including non-monophyly in all families and most genera, was shown.

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