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Phylogenetic analyses of nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid multigene data sets support the placement of mesostigma in the streptophyta
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Dr Naiara Rodriguez-Ezpeleta
Rodriguez-Ezpeleta N, Philippe H, Brinkmann H, Becker B, Melkonian M
Molecular Biology and Evolution
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All extant green plants belong to 1 of 2 major lineages, commonly known as the Chlorophyta (most of the green algae) and the Streptophyta (land plants and their closest green algal relatives). The scaly green flagellate Mesostigma viride has an important place in the debate on the origin of green plants. However, there have been conflicting results from molecular systematics as to whether Mesostigma diverges before the Chlorophyta/Streptophyta split or is an early diverging flagellate member of the Streptophyta. Previous studies employed either a limited taxon sampling (plastid and mitochondrial genomes) or a small number of phylogenetically informative sites (single nuclear genes). Here, we use large data sets from the nuclear (125 proteins; 29,319 positions), mitochondrial (33 proteins; 6,622 positions), and plastid (50 proteins; 10,137 positions) genomes with an expanded taxon sampling (21, 13, and 28 species, respectively) to reevaluate the phylogenetic position of Mesostigma. Our study supports the placement of Mesostigma in the Streptophyta (as an early diverging lineage) and provides evidence that systematic biases have played a role in generating some of the previous conflicting results. Importantly, we demonstrate that using an increased taxon sampling as well as more realistic models of evolution allows increasing congruence among the nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid data sets.
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