Generic phylogeny and historical biogeography of Alismataceae, inferred from multiple DNA sequences

Ling Yun Chen, Jin Ming Chen, Robert Wahiti Gituru, Tamru Demsis Temam, Qing Feng Wang

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26 Scopus citations


Alismataceae is an aquatic or semi-aquatic herb family with a subcosmopolitan distribution. The family is one of the oldest lineages within monocots and plays an important role in the systematics, biogeography and evolutionary processes of flowering plants. However, the generic relationships of the family are still a subject of debate, and its historical biogeography is less studied. In the present study, we carried out a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis based on multiple DNA sequences (nuclear: ITS; chloroplast: psbA, rbcL, matK, rpoB, rpoC1, trnK 5' intron and trnK 3' intron; mitochondria: cob and atp1). The result supports merging Limnocharitaceae into Alismataceae as one family. Two well-supported clades were obtained based on the combined ITS, psbA, rbcL and matK dataset. Clade B consists of Luronium, Damasonium, Baldellia and Alisma; and clade A consists of the remaining genera of Alismataceae as well as Limnocharitaceae. Biogeographic analysis and Bayesian molecular dating suggested that Alismataceae originated in West Palearctic or Afrotropical area during the Late Cretaceous, and subsequently split into two clades. Clade A and clade B diversified in Afrotropical area and West Palearctic area, respectively. The intercontinental distribution of this family mainly resulted from dispersals involving migration across land bridges and long-distance dispersal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We greatly thank Dr. Can Dai for discussions and helpful comments on the manuscript. We thank Drs. Ji Yang, Chun-Feng Yang, Yu-Guo Wang, Fan Liu, Zhi-Yuan Du, Jin-Hua Ran, and Yong-Qing Zhu for their help in field work, data analyses and discussions. We are grateful to Drs. Ruth A. Stokey and Dr. Lígia Queiroz Matias for kindly providing valuable references. We appreciate the valuable suggestions from two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported by grants from One Hundred Person Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences granted to Qing-Feng Wang (KSCX2-YW-Z-0805) and from the National Natural Science Foundations of China (Nos. 30970202 and 30970195 ).

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alismataceae
  • Divergence times
  • Limnocharitaceae
  • Phylogeny
  • Transoceanic dispersal

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