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Origin and Diversification of Monnina (Polygalaceae)

Alina Freire-Fierro, Drexel University/Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Traditionally, the plant genus, Monnina (Polygalaceae) has been considered to be a group of about 150 to 200 species distributed primarily in the Neotropics. A phylogenetic study based on morphological data from 15 species, divided the genus into genera Monnina, Pteromonnina and Ancylotropis (Eriksen 1993). In our study, Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic analyses of ninety accessions representing 58 species of Monnina s.l., using the nuclear markers ITS1 and ITS2, the chloroplast intron trnL and the intergeneric spacer trnLf revealed the highest support to a monophyletic origin of Monnina as sister to Ancylotropis. While the most basal species of Monnina s.str. analyzed were herbs, two-seeded and with extra-floral nectaries, the most recent lineages are composed by shrub, one seeded with no extra-floral nectaries.

Thanks to the support of the IAPT, I was able to defray some of the costs associated with the molecular work at the laboratory.


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