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Phylogeny of Agavaceae Based on ITS rDNA Sequence Variation

David J. Bogler and Beryl B. Simpson
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 83, No. 9 (Sep., 1996), pp. 1225-1235
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2446206
Page Count: 11
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Phylogeny of Agavaceae Based on ITS rDNA Sequence Variation
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Abstract

Several systems of classification have been proposed for the family Agavaceae. A distinctive bimodal karyotype and similarities of fruits and seeds strongly support close relationships among Yucca, Hesperaloe, Beschorneria, Furcraea, Agave, Manfreda, Polianthes, Prochnyanthes, and perhaps Hosta. However, Dasylirion, Beaucarnea, Nolina, Calibanus, Dracaena, and Sansevieria differ in so many cytological and morphological features that many have concluded they should be excluded from Agavaceae and separated into two families, Nolinaceae and Dracaenaceae Chloroplast DNA restriction site data support these separations and indicate that Nolinaceae and Dracaenaceae are very close to Convallariaceae (Maianthemum, Convallaria, Aspidistra, Liriope, etc.) In this paper we report the results of an ITS rDNA sequencing study of 40 taxa in Agavaceae sensu lato and related groups in the order Asparagales. Sequence alignments were optimized using the Consistency Index, Retention Index, and Rescaled Consistency Index to find the alignment that exhibited the least amount of homoplasy. The results of our study are congruent with the conclusions drawn from cytological, immunological, cpDNA, and rbcL studies, which support a narrow interpretation of Agavaceae and a close relationship among Convallariaceae, Dracaenaceae, and Nolinaceae. In addition, the ITS sequence data provide evidence for some interesting relationships within these families

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