Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 289, Issue 3–4, pp 223–235 | Cite as

Evolution of Iris subgenus Xiphium based on chromosome numbers, FISH of nrDNA (5S, 45S) and trnLtrnF sequence analysis

  • Jorge Martínez
  • Pablo Vargas
  • Modesto Luceño
  • Ángeles Cuadrado
Original Article


The subgenus Xiphium is one of the six infrageneric divisions of the genus Iris. Chromosome numbers of six of the seven Xiphium species are known. Here the aim was to infer genetic and phylogenetic relationships based on chromosome numbers, chromosome markers and plastid sequences. Chromosomal locations of 5S and 45S rDNA loci were determined in 19 populations of the 7 species by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Additionally, the trnLtrnF plastid spacer was sequenced and a phylogenetic analysis performed. Based on chromosome markers, subgenus Xiphium species were classified into four groups that differed in the number and locations of both types of nrDNA: (1) I. tingitana (2n = 28), I. filifolia (2n = 30, 34) and I. xiphium (2n = 34), (2) I. juncea (2n = 32) and I. boissieri (2n = 36), (3) I. serotina (2n = 34) and (4) I. latifolia (2n = 42). Although the trnLtrnF phylogeny was not fully resolved, the sequence analysis showed a well-supported subgroup of I. filifolia, I. tingitana and I. xiphium, as well as I. juncea. FISH physical maps of the Iris subgenus Xiphium taxa are species dependent. I. filifolia, I. tingitana and I. xiphium are very closely related species and share cytogenetic characteristics. Disploidy appears to have been central in the evolution of this subgenus, given a series of chromosome numbers (2n = 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 42) and our phylogenetic results. Clear differences were found among European and African populations of I. filifolia. A different taxonomic treatment of I. filifolia is supported for populations on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar.


45S rDNA 5S rDNA cpDNA sequences Disploidy FISH Iridaceae Iris subgenus Xiphium Strait of Gibraltar 



The authors thank O. Fiz and B. Guzmán and V. Valcárcel for support in the field. We also greatly thank the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (MA) and Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (UAH) for the permit to use their installations. Special thanks also to Mr. Maurice Boussard for supplying the I. juncea material. The financial support of the project “El Estrecho de Gibraltar y la evolución de las angiospermas: análisis moleculares, citogenéticos y reproductores” (BES-2003-1538 REN2002-04354-C02-01) of the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia is acknowledged. This paper is part of the PhD of Jorge Martínez.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Martínez
    • 1
  • Pablo Vargas
    • 1
  • Modesto Luceño
    • 2
  • Ángeles Cuadrado
    • 3
  1. 1.Real Jardín Botánico de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Pablo de OlavideSevillaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Biología Celular y GenéticaUniversidad de AlcaláMadridSpain

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