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TAXON

Plant Diversity and Resources

Exploring the generic delimitation of Phyllagathis and Bredia (Melastomataceae): A combined nuclear and chloroplast DNA analysis

Qiu-Jie Zhou1, Che-Wei Lin2, Jin-Hong Dai1, Ren-Chao Zhou1*, and Ying Liu1*

1State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.

2Herbarium of Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Taipei 100, Taiwan, China.

Keywords: Bredia, generic delimitation, Melastomataceae, Phyllagathis, phylogeny.

Abstract:

Phyllagathis Blume and Bredia Blume (Sonerileae s.l., Melastomataceae) are two closely related Asian genera with similar morphology and overlapping geographical range. Their generic circumscription and phylogenetic relationships are far from fully understood. We present here a molecular phylogenetic investigation for the two genera using nuclear ribosomal ITS and chloroplast (trnV-trnM) sequence data. Seventeen genera of Sonerileae s.l. were included in the analyses, with Phyllagathis and Bredia densely sampled to cover their geographical range and morphological diversity. We identified 14 well supported species clusters within Sonerileae s.l.-Medinilla. Phylogenetic analyses together with reconstruction of morphological characters clearly demonstrated the taxonomic mess in generic delimitation of Sonerileae s.l. Many of the characters traditionally used in generic delimitation were highly homoplasious. Bredia and Phyllagathis, as well as Allomorphia, Anerincleistus, Fordiophyton and Oxyspora, were revealed to be non-monophyletic. Bredia, as currently defined, contains two groups of species with different phylogenetic affiliations. Bredia should be recircumscribed to exclude the Bredia-Phyllagathis clade I and accommodate the Bredia-Phyllagathis clade II as the type of the genus is included in the latter clade. Most species sampled in Phyllagathis spread across eight well supported clades throughout the phylogenetic tree. The type of Phyllagathis showed no close affiliation with other members of Phyllagathis as well as its putative relatives. Phyllagathis, as presently circumscribed, is heterogeneous, encompassing multiple evolutionary lineages. As sequence data of nrITS and chloroplast trnV-trnM failed to resolve the phylogenetic relationships among these lineages, the formal taxonomic adjustment of Phyllagathis is postponed until further evidence can be gathered.


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