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J Mol Evol. 1990 Jul;31(1):18-24.

Higher plant origins and the phylogeny of green algae.

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Department of Biology, University of Houston, Texas 77204-5500.


5S rRNA sequences from six additional green algae lend strong molecular support for the major outlines of higher plant and green algae phylogeny that have been proposed under varying naming conventions by several authors. In particular, the molecular evidence now available unequivocally supports the existence of at least two well-separated divisions of the Chlorobionta: the Chlorophyta and the Streptophyta (i.e., charophytes) (according to the nomenclature of Bremer). The chlamydomonad 5S rRNAs are, however, sufficiently distinct from both clusters that it may ultimately prove preferable to establish a third taxon for them. In support of these conclusions 5S rRNA sequence data now exist for members of four diverse classes of chlorophytes. These sequences all exhibit considerably more phylogenetic affinity to one another than any of them show toward members of the other cluster, the Streptophyta, or the two Chlamydomonas strains. Among the Charophyceae, new 5S rRNA sequences are provided herein for three genera, Spirogyra, Klebsormidium, and Coleochaete. All of these sequences and the previously published Nitella sequence show greater resemblance among themselves and to the higher plants than they do to any of the other green algae examined to date. These results demonstrate that an appropriately named taxon that includes these green algae and the higher plants is strongly justified. The 5S rRNA data lack the resolution needed, however, to unequivocally determine which of several subdivisions of the charophytes is the sister group of the land plants. The evolutionary diversity of Chlamydomonas relative to the other green algae was recognized in earlier 5S rRNA studies but was unanticipated by ultrastructural work.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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