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Molecular systematics of Descurainia (Brassicaceae) in the Canary Islands: biogeographic and taxonomic implications

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Descurainia Webb & Berthel. (Brassicaceae) comprises approximately 45 species distributed throughout temperate areas of the world. In contrast to the small-flowered herbaceous taxa which constitute the majority of the genus, the seven species endemic to the Canary Islands are relatively large-flowered woody perennials. A molecular-based phylogeny of Canarian Descurainia was constructed using DNA sequences from nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and seven non-coding chloroplast regions. The results of parsimony and Bayesian analyses suggest that species of Descurainia in the Canary Islands are recently derived via a single colonization event. The closest continental relative is D. tanacetifolia, a perennial herb from the mountains of southwestern Europe. Chloroplast data suggest that both intra-island adaptive radiation and inter-island colonization have played a prominent role in the evolution of Descurainia in the Canary Islands. The most likely ancestral location of the island progenitor was the lowland scrub zone on Tenerife.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Section of Integrative Biology and Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, U.S.A. 2: Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava, Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, Calle Retama Num. 2, 38400 Puerto de La Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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