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Am J Bot. 2006 Nov;93(11):1714-24. doi: 10.3732/ajb.93.11.1714.

Intrageneric phylogeny of Capsella (Brassicaceae) and the origin of the tetraploid C. bursa-pastoris based on chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences.

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Evolutionary Functional Genomics, Department of Evolution, Genomics and Systematics, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18 D, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden;


Polyploidization, often accompanied by hybridization, has been of major importance in flowering plant evolution. Here we investigate the importance of these processes for the evolution of the tetraploid crucifer Capsella bursa-pastoris using DNA sequences from two chloroplast loci as well as from three nuclear low-copy genes. The near-absence of variation at the C. bursa-pastoris chloroplast markers suggests a single and recent origin of the tetraploid. However, despite supporting a single phylogeny, chloroplast data indicate that neither of the extant Capsella diploids is the maternal parent of the tetraploid. Combined with data from the three nuclear loci, our results do not lend support to previous hypotheses on the origin of C. bursa-pastoris as an allopolyploid between the diploids C. grandiflora and C. rubella or an autopolyploid of C. grandiflora. Nevertheless, for each locus, some of the C. bursa-pastoris accessions harbored C. rubella alleles, indicating that C. rubella contributed to the gene pool of C. bursa-pastoris, either through allopolyploid speciation or, more likely, through hybridization and introgression. To our knowledge, this study is the first of a wild, nonmodel plant genus that uses a combination of chloroplast and multiple low-copy nuclear loci for phylogenetic inference of polyploid evolution.

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