Molecular phylogeny supports the morphologically based taxonomic transfer of the “medicagoid”Trigonella species to the genus Medicago L.
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The taxonomic transfer of the 23 Trigonella species previously known as medicagoids to the genus Medicago L. is reanalyzed on the basis of a molecular phylogenetic approach. The internal and external transcribed spacers of 53 Medicago species s. str. and 10 of the 23 medicagoid species were sequenced. Both maximum parsimony or maximum likelihood criteria joined medicagoid species more confidently with Medicago rather than with Trigonella. The basal position of the medicagoid species within the genus Medicago, together with morphologically atypical Medicago species (such as M. radiata and M. platycarpa), raised the question of the expediency to define a new genus and is discussed, relatively to the support of each clade. Using criteria of monophyly and support, it was concluded that the medicagoids are better joined in Medicago rather than placed in a new genus.
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