Molecular phylogenetics of Hippophae L. (Elaeagnaceae) based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of nrDNA
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The genus Hippophae comprises 7 species and 8 subspecies according to the latest classification, and has shown enormous ecological, nutrient and medicinal values. Here we analyzed the phylogenetic relationships among 15 taxa of the genus by comparing sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA). ITS sequences in Hippophae varied in length from 651 bp to 666 bp. The aligned sequences were 690 bp in length and 269 (39.0%) were variable sites with 150 being parsimony-informative. The amount of polymorphism observed within a taxon was extremely low in most taxa except for two putative hybrid species. The aligned sequences were analyzed by maximum parsimony (MP) and neighbor-joining (NJ) methods. In the strict consensus trees of parsimony analysis, the monophyly of Hippophae was supported by 100% bootstrap value. H. tibetana was at the basal position of the genus, and the remaining taxa formed two clades with high bootstrap support. The first clade included subspecies of H.␣rhamnoides and the other one consisted of remaining species. Parsimony analysis also suggested that the species H. tibetana, H. neurocarpa and H.␣salicifolia were all distinct. Although the sequence divergence among subspecies of H. rhamnoides was also remarkably high, the molecular data supported the monophyly of H. rhamnoides when H. rhamnoides subsp. gyantsensis Rousi was excxluded. The NJ trees showed essentially the same topology. The taxonomical arrangement that divided the genus into two sections was not supported based on the ITS sequences. However, the hybrid origin of H. goniocarpa and H. litangensis proposed previously was supported by the present ITS data.
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