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Evolution and Biogeography ofAlectryon(Sapindaceae)

Elsevier Inc.
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/mpev.2001.0952


Abstract Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences from four plastid loci ( matK, partial trnK–matK introns, rps16 intron) and one nuclear locus (the internal transcribed spacer of rDNA; ITS-1) was conducted for 14 species of Alectryon and five related genera in Sapindaceae. Both matK and rps16 intron provide few informative characters within Alectryon, whereas ITS-1 provides the largest number of parsimony-informative characters and has the greatest sequence divergence between taxa. Support for branches in cladograms produced in PAUP increased markedly upon inclusion of ITS-1 data to matK and rps16 intron data. Analyses of each region alone or combined produced congruent results, suggesting that the regions are complementary. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that there are two main lineages within Alectryon, with A. subcinereus sister to the remaining sampled Alectryon taxa. Two morphological characters, presence/absence of petals and aril patterning, are congruent with the molecular phylogeny. One robustly supported clade is characterized by smooth arils and petals, in contrast to the taxa in the other major clade which have patterned arils and an absence of petals. These analyses also support a number of revised subgeneric groupings for Alectryon. The decision to submerge Heterodendrum in Alectryon is supported, although taxa belonging to Heterodendrum do not form a clade. The majority of the Australian Alectryon appear to belong to the tropical monsoonal/arid flora with species from both lineages being found in representative vine thickets across northern Australia. It appears that the seasonally dry rainforest communities comprise a number of elements that do not share common evolutionary histories within this genus.

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