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Mol Biol Evol. 2012 Jan;29(1):429-39. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msr236. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Entangling ancient allotetraploidization in Asian Mitella: an integrated approach for multilocus combinations.

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Tsukuba Botanical Garden, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


The reconstruction of an ancient polyploidization history is often challenging, although it is a crucial step in clarifying the mechanisms underlying the contemporary success and diversity of polyploids. Phylogenetic relationships of duplicated gene pairs of polyploids, with respect to their orthologs in related diploids, have been used to address this problem, but they often result in conflicting topologies among different genes. Asimitellaria is an East Asian endemic tetraploid lineage of perennials (genus Mitella; Saxifragaceae) that has diversified in riparian habitats. Phylogenetic analyses of four nuclear-encoded, single-copy (per haploid) genes GBSSI-A, GBSSI-B, GS-II, and PepCK all supported a single allopolyploid origin of Asimitellaria, but they did not lead to a consensus about which diploid lineage gave rise to each of the Asimitellaria subgenomes. To address this issue, we used an integrated approach, whereby the four gene data sets and an additional nuclear ribosomal external transcribed spacer and internal transcribed spacer (including a 5.8S ribosomal DNA) data set were concatenated in all possible combinations, and the most probable data combination was determined together with the phylogenetic inference. This resulted in relatively robust support for the two closely related North American diploid species as the ancestral lineages of the Asimitellaria subgenomes, suggesting ancient intercontinental migration of the diploid or tetraploid lineages and subsequent tetraploid diversification in the Japanese Archipelago. The present approach enabled sorting out the duplicated genes into their original combinations in their preduplication ancestors under a maximum-likelihood framework, and its extension toward genome sequencing data may help in the reconstruction of ancestral, preduplicated, whole-genome structures.

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