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Am J Bot. 2002 Jan;89(1):132-44. doi: 10.3732/ajb.89.1.132.

Molecular phylogenetics of Caryophyllales based on nuclear 18S rDNA and plastid rbcL, atpB, and matK DNA sequences.

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Molecular Systematics Section, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3DS, UK;


To study the inter- and infrafamilial phylogenetic relationships in the order Caryophyllales sensu lato (s.l.), ∼930 base pairs of the matK plastid gene have been sequenced and analyzed for 127 taxa. In addition, these sequences have been combined with the rbcL plastid gene for 53 taxa and with the rbcL and atpB plastid genes as well as the nuclear 18S rDNA for 26 taxa to provide increased support for deeper branches. The red pigments of Corbichonia, Lophiocarpus, and Sarcobatus have been tested and shown to belong to the betacyanin class of compounds. Most taxa of the order are clearly grouped into two main clades (i.e., "core" and "noncore" Caryophyllales) which are, in turn, divided into well-defined subunits. Phytolaccaceae and Molluginaceae are polyphyletic, and Portulacaceae are paraphyletic, whereas Agdestidaceae, Barbeuiaceae, Petiveriaceae, and Sarcobataceae should be given familial recognition. Two additional lineages are potentially appropriate to be elevated to the family level in the future: the genera Lophiocarpus and Corbichonia form a well-supported clade on the basis of molecular and chemical evidence, and Limeum appears to be separated from other Molluginaceae based on both molecular and ultrastructural data.

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