Phylogenetic analysis of Leucojum and Galanthus (Amaryllidaceae) based on plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal spacer (ITS) DNA sequences and morphology
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Phylogenetic analyses of the monocotyledonous genera Leucojum and Galanthus (Amaryllidaceae, Asparagales), using plastid (trnL-F and matK) and largely non-coding nuclear ribosomal (ITS) DNA sequences show the two to be closely related to Lapiedra, Narcissus, Vagaria, Pancratium and Sternbergia. We compare the results obtained with a combined parsimony analysis of these nucleotide sequences with that of a matrix of morphological characters. The sampling included all species of Leucojum and most species of Galanthus (representing all series and subseries of the genus) and used as outgroup the above mentioned genera of Amaryllidaceae shown to be close relatives. The plastid, nuclear and morphological data were analysed independently and in combination, showing that the boundaries between the two genera are not appropriate. Galanthus is monophyletic but embedded in Leucojum. On the basis of chromosome numbers and floral characters Leucojum has been previously divided into four subgenera, which have been accepted as genera by some authors. In our phylogenetic analyses (separate as well as combined), Leucojum species are separated in two primary clades corresponding to L. subgenera Ruminia + Acis and L. Leucojum + Aerosperma. The taxonomic implications of this pattern are discussed, and an alternative classification is proposed. Finally, biogeographic relationships of species of both Leucojum and Galanthus are discussed, emphasising the possible origin of the narrowly distributed taxa of Leucojum relative to the widespread species.
Key wordsAcis Leucojum Galanthus Lapiedra Amaryllidaceae matK ITS morphology cladistic analysis Mediterranean biogeography
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