Research Article

Usefulness of cpDNA markers for phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses of closely related cactus species

Published: February 28, 2013
Genet. Mol. Res. 12 (4) : 4579-4585 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/2013.February.28.27
Cite this Article:
(2013). Usefulness of cpDNA markers for phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses of closely related cactus species. Genet. Mol. Res. 12(4): gmr2349. https://doi.org/10.4238/2013.February.28.27
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Abstract

Although plastid DNA has been widely explored as a marker of choice for phylogeny and phylogeography studies, little is known about its utility for examining relationships between closely related species. The slow evolutionary rates inherent to chloroplast (cp) DNA make it difficult to perform lower level taxonomic analyses, particularly at the population level. We characterized the nucleotide variation and investigated the utility of eight noncoding cpDNA regions in four closely related species of the Pilosocereus aurisetus group (Cactaceae), an endemic taxon of eastern South America. The plastid intergenic spacers 5'-trnS-trnG, 3'-trnS-trnG and trnT-trnL were the most variable regions and were the most useful for lower level taxonomic comparisons, especially when used together. We conclude that an adequate combination of regions alongside indels as an additional character improves the usefulness of cpDNA for phylogenetic studies.

Although plastid DNA has been widely explored as a marker of choice for phylogeny and phylogeography studies, little is known about its utility for examining relationships between closely related species. The slow evolutionary rates inherent to chloroplast (cp) DNA make it difficult to perform lower level taxonomic analyses, particularly at the population level. We characterized the nucleotide variation and investigated the utility of eight noncoding cpDNA regions in four closely related species of the Pilosocereus aurisetus group (Cactaceae), an endemic taxon of eastern South America. The plastid intergenic spacers 5'-trnS-trnG, 3'-trnS-trnG and trnT-trnL were the most variable regions and were the most useful for lower level taxonomic comparisons, especially when used together. We conclude that an adequate combination of regions alongside indels as an additional character improves the usefulness of cpDNA for phylogenetic studies.