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Cytinaceae are sister to Muntingiaceae (Malvales)

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The holoparasitic family Cytinaceae (Cytinus and Bdallophyton) was previously shown to be allied with Malvales, however its closest photosynthetic ancestor was not determined. A molecular phylogenetic study was conducted using nuclear small-subunit rDNA and three chloroplast genes (the latter missing from the holoparasites but included to stabilize the overall tree topology) using Cytinaceae and exemplars from all recognized families from an expanded Malvales. Using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods, Cytinaceae were resolved with strong support as sister to the newly described Muntingiaceae. Potential morphological synapomorphies include trichome types, mature pollen released as tetrads, inferior ovaries, intrusive parietal placentation with many ovules, and fruit type. Given that all Muntingiaceae are neotropical, it is likely that the ancestor of Cytinaceae arose in the New World and migrated to continental Africa prior to the separation of Africa from South America.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901–6509, U.S.A.;, Email: nickrent@plant.siu.edu

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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