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Am J Bot. 2004 Mar;91(3):474-89. doi: 10.3732/ajb.91.3.474.

Patterns of evolution in western North American Mimulus (Phrymaceae).

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  • 1Biology Department, Colorado College, 14 E. Cache La Poudre, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 USA;


A well-supported phylogeny is presented from both chloroplast DNA (the trnL/F region) and two regions of nuclear rDNA (ITS [internal transcribed spacer] and ETS [external transcribed spacer]) with nearly complete sampling for Mimulus (Phrymaceae) in western North America. Three separate genera are derived from within the clade that contains all the Mimulus species in western North America. The taxonomic status of the proposed sections of Mimulus and the relationships of many taxonomically difficult species are considered with observations on morphological evolution. Discordance between data sources provides support for the hypothesis that M. evanescens is a hybrid between M. latidens and M. breviflorus. In two major clades (Eunanus and Diplacus), patterns of genetic variation do not match the current taxonomy. The clustering of taxa in Eunanus is strongly associated with geographic distributions. Mimulus aurantiacus sensu Thompson, M. nanus, and M. floribundus are found to be progenitor species to other species that appear to be derived from within them. Polyploidy and aneuploidy events are clustered near the tips of the phylogeny. Thus, these two mechanisms are concluded to have played a relatively small role in the evolution of persistent lineages in Mimulus. The phylogenetic distribution of rare taxa is also examined.

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