Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 299, Issue 1, pp 239–257 | Cite as

Multi-gene region phylogenetic analyses suggest reticulate evolution and a clade of Australian origin among paleotropical woody bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae: Bambuseae)

  • W. L. GohEmail author
  • S. Chandran
  • D. C. Franklin
  • Y. Isagi
  • K. C. Koshy
  • S. Sungkaew
  • H. Q. Yang
  • N. H. Xia
  • K. M. Wong
Original Article


The paleotropical woody bamboo subtribe Bambusinae has not been satisfactorily circumscribed and remains a major taxonomic problem. Genera such as Holttumochloa, Mullerochloa and Temburongia have not been confidently assigned to this subtribe. The phylogenetic relationships among genera hitherto placed in or near the Bambusinae, together with the related subtribes Racemobambosinae and Melocanninae, were investigated using three chloroplast DNA markers (rps16-trnQ, trnC-rpoB and trnD-T intergenic spacers) and a nuclear DNA marker (granule-bound starch synthase I, GBSSI) for a sample of 51 ingroup species and 2 outgroup species. Phylogenetic analyses revealed four distinct lineages among the members of the currently recognized Bambusinae: (1) the Bambusa-Dendrocalamus-Gigantochloa (BDG) complex, (2) the Holttumochloa-Kinabaluchloa clade, (3) the Dinochloa-Mullerochloa-Neololeba-Sphaerobambos (DMNS) clade and (4) Temburongia simplex. The BDG complex, which comprises the core of the Bambusinae, appears to have a complex evolutionary history as indicated by incongruence between the cpDNA and the nuclear gene topologies. Introgressive hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting are possible underlying causes for this complexity. The distinction of the climbing-scrambling bamboo lineages from the core Bambusinae and Racemobambosinae suggests directions for investigating the possible existence of further subtribes with increased taxon and geographical sampling. Possible biogeographic scenarios associated with the Holttumochloa-Kinabaluchloa clade and the DMNS clade are discussed.


Australia Bambusinae Biogeography Paleotropical bamboos Racemobambosinae Reticulate evolution Incomplete lineage sorting Incongruent gene topologies Introgressive hybridization Southeast Asia 



This work would have been impossible without the generous help and interest of many who helped make available the diverse array of samples used: Forest Research Centre, Sabah; Rimba Ilmu Botanical Garden, University of Malaya; South China Botanical Garden; South West Forestry College, Kunming; the Kunming World Expo; Kinabalu Park, Sabah; Brunei Forestry Department; David Bowman, Nicholas Hogarth, Shingo Kaneko, Lin Rushun, Y.W. Low, Janna Nilsson, Joan Pereira, M. Sugumaran, Cliff Sussman, Tran Van Tien and Zheng Chaohan. We are likewise grateful for comments and constructive suggestions from Lynn G. Clark (Iowa State University), Koichi Kamiya (Ehime University) and Scot A. Kelchner (Idaho State University) during the preparation of this paper. WLG was supported by a Postgraduate Fellowship of the University of Malaya. This work received funding from University of Malaya research grants FS275/2008C, PS151/2008B and PS293/2009C, and the H.M. Burkill Research Fellowship of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This paper is dedicated to Len Muller, whose huge enthusiasm for unraveling the many mysteries of Southeast Asian and Australian bamboos has been a constant encouragement.

Supplementary material

606_2012_718_MOESM1_ESM.doc (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1. (DOC 27 kb)
606_2012_718_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (463 kb)
Supplementary material 2. Phylogram of the 50% majority-rule consensus tree from the Bayesian analyses based on the cpDNA (rps16-trnQ+trnC-rpoB+trnD-T) data (JPEG 463 kb)
606_2012_718_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (515 kb)
Supplementary material 3. Phylogram of the 50% majority-rule consensus tree from the Bayesian analyses based on the partial GBSSI data (JPEG 514 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. L. Goh
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Chandran
    • 1
  • D. C. Franklin
    • 2
  • Y. Isagi
    • 3
  • K. C. Koshy
    • 4
  • S. Sungkaew
    • 5
  • H. Q. Yang
    • 6
  • N. H. Xia
    • 7
  • K. M. Wong
    • 8
  1. 1.Center for Research in Biotechnology for Agriculture, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Research Institute for the Environment and LivelihoodsCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Forest Biology, Division of Forest and Biomaterials Science, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Tropical Botanic Garden and Research InstituteThiruvananthapuramIndia
  5. 5.Department of Forest Biology, Faculty of ForestryKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand
  6. 6.Research Institute of Resources InsectsChinese Academy of ForestryKunmingChina
  7. 7.South China Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  8. 8.Singapore Botanic GardensSingaporeSingapore

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