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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 27(1)

Phylogeny of the holly grevilleas (Proteaceae) based on nuclear ribosomal and chloroplast DNA

Gareth D. Holmes A B C, Trisha L. Downing A, Elizabeth A. James A C, Mark J. Blacket D, Ary A. Hoffmann B and Michael J. Bayly A E

A School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.
B Department of Genetics, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, 30 Flemington Road, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.
C National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Vic. 3141, Australia.
D Department of Environment and Primary Industries, AgriBio, La Trobe University, 5 Ring Road, Bundoora, Vic. 3083, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: mbayly@unimelb.edu.au

Australian Systematic Botany 27(1) 56-77 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SB13045
Submitted: 1 November 2013  Accepted: 8 May 2014   Published: 30 June 2014

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The holly grevilleas are an informal grouping of 15 species (19 taxa) of woody shrubs from south-eastern Australia, with a centre of distribution in central to western Victoria. Many of the species are narrowly endemic. The present study is the first molecular-phylogenetic analysis of the group, with the aim of providing an evolutionary framework for assessing species-level taxonomy and conservation priorities. Analyses using the nrDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions were complicated by the presence of divergent paralogues, including inferred pseudogenes; analyses restricted to presumed orthologous, functional ITS sequences were uninformative. Combined analyses of three chloroplast intergenic spacers (trnQ–5′rps16, trnL–trnF and rpoB–trnC) strongly support the monophyly of a core group of 16 taxa (the ‘southern holly grevilleas’) from Victoria and South Australia. However, nodes outside this group are poorly resolved and poorly supported, and the relationships of taxa from New South Wales and eastern Victoria (the ‘northern holly grevilleas’) are unclear. Among the southern holly grevilleas, the following four distinct and partly sympatric cpDNA clades are identified: the ‘Grevillea ilicifolia’, ‘G. aquifolium’, ‘G. dryophylla’ and ‘G. repens’ clades, among which the earliest and most strongly supported divergence is that of the western-most ‘G. ilicifolia’ clade. Variation in cpDNA is incongruent with current species-level taxonomy, especially for G. aquifolium (polyphyletic), G. montis-cole (polyphyletic, but the two subspecies each monophyletic) and G. microstegia (nested in G. aquifolium). The effects of incomplete chloroplast lineage sorting, gene flow through hybridisation or introgression, and inappropriate taxonomy are possible explanations for this incongruence. The formal conservation listing for some species within the holly grevillea group requires re-evaluation.

Additional keywords: Grevillea aquifolium group, holly-leaved grevilleas, ITS, molecular phylogeny, Proteaceae, rDNA pseudogenes, rpoB–trnC, taxonomy, trnL–trnF, trnQ–5′rps16.


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