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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Dec;21(3):449-67.

Variation in the nrDNA ITS of Pinus subsection Cembroides: implications for molecular systematic studies of pine species complexes.

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Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Codigo Postal, 04510, México


The pinyon pines (Pinus subsection Cembroides), distributed in semiarid regions of the western United States and Mexico, include a mixture of relictual and more recently evolved taxa. To investigate relationships among the pinyons, we screened and partially sequenced 3000-bp clones of the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region for 16 taxa from subsect. Cembroides and nine representatives from four other subsections of subgenus Strobus. Restriction digests of clones reveal within-individual heterogeneity, suggesting that concerted evolution is operating slowly on the ITS in pine species. Two ITS clones were identified as pseudogenes. Tandem subrepeats in the ITS1 form stem loops comparable to those in other genera of Pinaceae and may be promoting recombination between rDNA repeats, resulting in ITS1 chimeras. Within the pinyon clade, phylogenetic structure is present, but different clones from the same (or different) individuals of a species are polyphyletic, indicating that coalescence of ITS copies within individual genomes predates evolutionary divergence in the group. At the level of subsection and above, the ITS region corresponds well with morphological and cpDNA evidence. Except for P. nelsonii, the pinyons are monophyletic, with both subsect. Cembroides and P. nelsonii forming a clade with the foxtail and bristlecone pines (subsect. Balfourianae) of western North America.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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