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Mol Biol Evol. 2006 Aug;23(8):1602-12. Epub 2006 Jun 5.

A chloroplast genealogy of hordeum (poaceae): Long-term persisting haplotypes, incomplete lineage sorting, regional extinction, and the consequences for phylogenetic inference.

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Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Science (IPK), D-06466 Gatersleben, Germany.


To analyze reasons for inconclusive results of earlier chloroplast phylogenies in the grass genus Hordeum, we established a genealogy of chloroplast haplotypes by sequencing the trnL-trnF region in 875 individuals, covering all 31 species of the genus. Although the outcomes of phenetic and parsimony analyses of 88 haplotypes were ambiguous, a network approach showed that in Hordeum ancient chloroplast types co-occur with their descendants. Moreover, we found up to 18 different chloroplast haplotypes within a single species and up to 6 species sharing single haplotypes. Persisting polymorphisms together with incomplete lineage sorting occurred preferentially in the rapidly speciating New World taxa of the genus, where ancient chloroplast types have survived for at least 4 Myr. Lineages-through-time plots and a high number of missing chloroplast haplotypes indicated far-reaching extinction of chloroplast lineages in Europe and particularly the Mediterranean. Survival of these lineages in East Asia and North America resulted in chloroplast relationships that markedly differed from nuclear estimations of species relationships. Thus, even for the deepest splits in the genus, reaching back more than 9 Myr, no safe phylogenetic inference from chloroplast data is possible in Hordeum. The chloroplast genealogy, however, revealed biogeographic patterns and indicated processes involved in speciation in Hordeum. We conclude that the described phenomena are not restricted to Hordeum and that the knowledge of the chloroplast relationships within a genus is indispensable to prevent misinterpretation of phylogeographic data within single species.

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