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Is Persea (Lauraceae) monophyletic? Evidence from nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences

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The delimitation of genera within the Persea group (Lauraceae) has always been controversial. In an attempt to resolve the phylogenetic lines within this group, we analyzed ITS sequences of 61 species of the Persea group (Lauraceae) and 30 other species of Lauraceae. Several of the traditional genera or subgenera form well-supported groups, viz., Persea subg. Eriodaphne, Machilus, Persea subg. Persea, and Alseodaphne including Dehaasia. The included species of Phoebe form two clades that are unresolved with respect to Alseodaphne. However, Persea subg. Eriodaphne (together with the Macaronesian Apollonias barbujana ) forms one of the clades of an unresolved basal trichotomy within the Persea group, whereas Persea subg. Persea is well supported as member of an otherwise Asian clade including Alseodaphne and Phoebe. This indicates that Persea, as currently circumscribed, is not monophyletic. The affinities of the Macaronesian Persea indica are clearly American rather than Asian.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biozentrum Klein Flottbek und Botanischer Garten, Universität Hamburg, Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg, Germany 2: Laboratory of Plant Phylogenetics and Conservation Biology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 88 Xuefu Rd., Kunming, Yunnan 650223, P. R. China 3: Biozentrum Klein Flottbek und Botanischer Garten, Universität Hamburg, Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg, Germany. 4: Missouri Botanical Garden, P. O. Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-0299, U. S.

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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