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PLoS Curr. 2011 May 16;3:RRN1237. doi: 10.1371/currents.RRN1237.

Molecular data and ploidal levels indicate several putative allopolyploidization events in the genus Potentilla (Rosaceae).

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University of Gothenburg, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, P.O. Box 461, 405 30 Gothenburg; Department of Botany, Stockholm University, SE-10691, Stockholm, Sweden and Department of Biodiversity Informatics, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden.


Several naturally occurring hybrids in Potentilla (Rosaceae) have been reported, but no molecular evidence has so far been available to test these hypotheses of hybridization. We have compared a nuclear and a chloroplast gene tree to identify topological incongruences that may indicate hybridization events in the genus. Furthermore, the monophyly and phylogenetic position of the proposed segregated genera Argentina, Ivesia and Horkelia have been tested. The systematic signal from the two morphological characters, style- and anther shape, has also been investigated by ancestral state reconstruction, to elucidate how well these characters concur with the results of the molecular phylogenies. Six major clades, Anserina, Alba, Fragarioides, Reptans, ivesioid and Argentea, have been identified within genus Potentilla. Horkelia, Ivesia and Horkeliella (the ivesioid clade), form a monophyletic group nested within Potentilla. Furthermore, the origin of the proposed segregated genus Argentina (the Anserina clade) is uncertain but not in conflict with a new generic status of the group. We also found style morphology to be an informative character that reflects the phylogenetic relationships within Potentilla. Five well-supported incongruences were found between the nuclear and the chloroplast phylogenies, and three of these involved polyploid taxa. However, further investigations, using low copy molecular markers, are required to infer the phylogeny of these species and to test the hypothesis of hybrid origin.

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