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Molecular phylogeny of Acacia Mill. (Mimosoideae: Leguminosae): Evidence for major clades and informal classification

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Abstract:

Sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA internal (ITS) and external (ETS) transcribed spacers were used to generate a phylogeny of Acacia Mill. s.str. (synonyms: Acacia subg. Phyllodineae (DC.) Seringe; Racosperma Mart.). This study included 109 exemplar taxa from all seven sections recognised in previous classifications, and represents the largest sampling of diversity for molecular phylogenetics of Acacia s.str. undertaken so far. Four main clades were identified from the combined dataset of ITS and ETS using parsimony and Bayesian analyses. Two of these clades consist mostly of uninerved phyllodinous taxa assigned to sect. Phyllodineae. One clade includes taxa related to A. victoriae and A. pyrifolia, and the second comprises taxa in the A. murrayana species group. These taxa occur predominantly in semi-arid and arid regions. Relationships also resolve the previously identified Pulchelloidea clade, which includes members of sects. Pulchellae, Alatae, Phyllodineae and Lycopodiifoliae. A large clade with limited phylogenetic resolution was also identified (the "p.u.b. clade"). This is an assemblage of plurinerved and uninerved phyllodinous taxa and also bi-pinnate taxa from sect. Botrycephalae. Clades are discussed with reference to morphological characters, and while some morphological states are correlated with clades, including seedling ontogeny, inflorescence and phyllode nerves, clear synapomorphies remain to be identified. Traditional classifications of Acacia s.str. are artificial and a preliminary informal classification based on phylogenetic relationships within Acacia s.str. is proposed.

Keywords: ACACIA; ACACIA SUBG. PHYLLODINEAE; AUSTRALIA; CLASSIFICATION; MOLECULAR PHYLOGENY; NUCLEAR RIBOSOMAL DNA (ITS, ETS)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Victoria 3141, Australia 2: National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Victoria 3141, Australia; School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia 3: Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, GPO Box 1600, CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia 4: School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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