Molecular evidence for a mediterranean origin of the macaronesian endemic genus Argyranthemum (Asteraceae)

Javier Francisco-Ortega, Arnoldo Santos-Guerra, Ayelet Hines, Robert K. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA were sequenced for 52 species from 32 genera and eight subtribes of Anthemideae. Phylogenetic analyses of ITS data generated trees that are largely incongruent with the recent classification of Anthemideae; most of the subtribes examined are not resolved as monophyletic. However, ITS trees are congruent with morphological, isozyme, phytochemical, and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) restriction site data in supporting a Mediterranean origin for Argyranthemum, the largest endemic genus of the Atlantic oceanic islands. A combined analysis of ITS sequences and cpDNA restriction sites indicates that Argyranthemum is sister to the other three genera of Chrysantheminae (i.e., Chrysanthemum, Heteranthemis, and Ismelia). Times of divergence of Argyranthemum inferred from the ITS sequences ranged between 0.26 and 2.1 million years ago (mya) and are lower than values previously reported from isozyme and cpDNA data (1.5-3.0 mya). It is likely that rate heterogeneity of the ITS sequences in the Anthemideae accounts for the low divergence-time estimates. Comparison of data for 20 species in Argyranthemum and Chrysantheminae indicates that the cpDNA restriction site approach provided much more phylogenetic information than ITS sequences. Thus, restriction site analyses of the entire chloroplast genome remain a valuable approach for studying recently derived island plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1613
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthemideae
  • Chrysantheminae
  • ITS sequence data
  • Macaronesia
  • Oceanic islands
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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