Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 250, Issue 1–2, pp 39–67 | Cite as

Phylogenetics of Utricularia (Lentibulariaceae) and molecular evolution of the trnK intron in a lineage with high substitutional rates

  • K. Müller
  • T. Borsch


The bladderworts (Utricularia, Lentibulariaceae) are the most diverse carnivorous plant genus, with a nearly worldwide distribution. In the present study, chloroplast DNA sequences of the trnK intron were used to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships within the genus. Parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian analyses resulted in highly congruent and well-resolved trees. The phylogenetic signal provided by the noncoding trnK intron partition of the dataset is similar to that of the matK coding region, although the latter is twice as long. Within matK, indels appeared in multiples of three except very close to the 3′ end of the gene. Substitutions were found to result in or eliminate stop codons, thus creating a length variable gene end. Indels in both trnK and matK exhibit low degrees of homoplasy, irrespective of their size. A tree based on indels alone is largely congruent to the substitution-based trees but less resolved. Three major clades found within Utricularia are classified as subgen. Utricularia, subgen. Bivalvia, and subgen. Polypompholyx. The immediate common ancestor of Utricularia is suggested to have been a terrestrial plant whereas epiphytic and aquatic habits evolved later in terminal clades.

Key words

trnK group II intron matK gene Utricularia bladderworts Lentibulariaceae maximum parsimony maximum likelihood Bayesian inference 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thomas Borsch, Nees-Institut für Biodiversität der PflanzenRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität BonnBonnGermany

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