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Am J Bot. 2011 May;98(5):896-908. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1000375. Epub 2011 May 2.

Molecular systematics of the parasitic genus Conopholis (Orobanchaceae) inferred from plastid and nuclear sequences.

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1
Department of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, L5L 1C6, Canada. anuar.rodrigues@utoronto.ca

Abstract

PREMISE OF THE STUDY:

Little is known of the evolutionary relationships within Conopholis, a small holoparasitic genus belonging to the broomrape family. Presently, Conopholis is described as having two species, C. americana and C. alpina. This classification is based on a combination of presence/absence of morphological characters along with a number of quantitative traits. We assessed the relationships among populations and species of this genus to determine whether the present taxonomic hypothesis is reflected in molecular phylogenies.

METHODS:

We conducted the first phylogenetic study of Conopholis using plastid (trnfM-E intergenic spacer and clpP gene/introns) and nuclear (PHYA intron 1) sequences from a wide taxonomic sampling covering its entire geographical range in North America. Analyses were carried out using a variety of phylogenetic inference approaches.

KEY RESULTS:

Reciprocal monophyly between the two traditionally accepted species has not yet been achieved. Instead, three distinct genetic clusters were recovered. Conopholis alpina is clearly paraphyletic and shows evidence of belonging to at least two distinct lineages. Specimens found in Costa Rica and Panama form a distinct group from those located in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. The monophyly of C. americana was also not recovered; however, the possibility of it being monophyletic could not be rejected with confidence.

CONCLUSIONS:

These analyses recovered three distinct lineages indicating that there could be a minimum of three species within the genus. A reevaluation of morphological features within Conopholis may reveal shared features that could further corroborate our molecular findings.

PMID:
21613187
DOI:
10.3732/ajb.1000375
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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