Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 194, Issue 1–2, pp 69–81 | Cite as

Variation within and among the chloroplast genomes ofMelaleuca alternifolia andM. linariifolia (Myrtaceae)

  • P. A. Butcher
  • M. Byrne
  • G. F. Moran


Melaleuca alternifolia andM. linariifolia are commercially important Australian species harvested for their essential oils. Both species have relatively narrow and disjunct distributions on the central coast of eastern Australia. Variation in the chloroplast genome was assessed for eight individuals from each of twelve populations, representing the species' geographic range. Low nucleotide diversity withinM. alternifolia contrasted with high nucleotide diversity inM. linariifolia. CpDNA data are consistent with the southern population ofM. alternifolia being a hybrid population withM. linariifolia. The two species are sympatric in this region. Variation inM. linariifolia was geographically structured, with northern populations differing from southern populations by seven restriction site mutations, five length mutations and an inversion. There was no evidence of hybridisation of the cp genome of northernM. linariifolia with the partially sympatric speciesM. trichostachya. Intra- and interspecific variation in the chloroplast genomes ofM. alternifolia, M. linariifolia, andM. trichostachya indicate considerable potential for the use of intraspecific cpDNA studies in examining phylogenetic relationships in melaleucas.

Key words

Myrtaceae Melaleuca alternifolia Melaleuca linariifolia Genetic diversity phylogenetics chloroplast DNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Butcher
    • 1
  • M. Byrne
    • 2
  • G. F. Moran
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ForestryAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Division of ForestryCanberraAustralia

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