, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 329-337

Phylogeny of the family hydrocharitaceae inferred fromrbcL andmatK gene sequence data

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The family Hydrocharitaceae, with 15 genera and ca. 80 species, shows a remarkable morphological diversity which presumably developed as an adaptation to their aquatic habitat. This is particularly true in the case of the many different kinds of pollination mechanisms. To gather more basic information regarding the adaptive evolution of Hydrocharitaceae, we have carried out a phylogenetic analysis based on the sequences of therbcL andmatK. Our resulting neighbor-joining distance tree provides the following insights: (1) none of the previous classification systems were supported by molecular phylogenetic tree; (2) Najas (Najadaceae), which has never been included in Hydrocharitaceae except in Shaffer-Fehre's (1991) system based on seed coat structures, is an ingroup of Hydrocharitaceae; (3) Limnocharitaceae and Alismataceae are sister groups of Hydrocharitaceae; (4) the three marine genera,Halophila, Enhalus andThalassia, are monophyletic; and (5) a peculiar pollination mechanism specific to Hydrocharitaceae (Hydrocharitaceae-epihydrophily), underwent a parallel evolution.