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The systematic position of Meteoriella S. Okamura (Musci) based on molecular and morphological data

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Meteoriella S. Okamura, an endemic moss genus of eastern Asia, has traditionally been classified in Pterobryaceae or Meteoriaceae. However, recent molecular data has suggested that Meteoriella should be placed in Hylocomiaceae. To elucidate the systematic position of Meteoriella within Hypnales, we analyzed two DNA sequence datasets consisting of two regions (mt-nad5, cp-rps4) with 64 taxa, and five regions (mt-nad5, cp-rps4, cp-rbcL, cp-trnL-F, nr-ITS2) with 27 taxa, using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Analyses of the two datasets strongly supported Meteoriella as sister to Loeskeobryum, which has hitherto been included in the Hylocomiaceae. Although the evolution of Hypnales and the monophyly of Hylocomiaceae remain unresolved, a close relationship between Meteoriella and Hylocomiaceae is clear. Meteoriella shares some morphological characters with Meteoriaceae and Pterobryaceae, apparently owing to convergent evolution related to epiphytic growth. A reappraisal of morphological evidence reveals greater morphological similarity with Hylocomiaceae than previously recognized. The possible systematic position of Meteoriella within Hylocomiaceae is discussed. Loeskeobryum, rather than Orontobryum (suggested by earlier studies), shows the closest phylogenetic relationship with Meteoriella.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, China

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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