J Syst Evol ›› 2009, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (3): 191-201.DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-6831.2009.00021.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Phylogenetics and biogeography of eastern Asian–North American disjunct genus Pachysandra (Buxaceae) inferred from nucleotide sequences

1 Zhihua JIAO 2,3 Jianhua LI*   

  1. 1 (School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing 100083, China)
    2 (The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA)
    3 (Adjunct Faculty of College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China) *Author for correspondence. E-mail: jli@oeb.harvard.edu; Tel.: 1-617-4966429, Fax: 1-617-4959484.
  • Received:2008-08-18 Published:2009-05-01

Abstract: Pachysandra is an eastern Asian–North American disjunct genus with three species, two in eastern Asia (Pachysandra axillaris and Pachysandra terminalis) and one in eastern North America (Pachysandra procumbens). Although morphological and cytological studies suggest a close affinity of P. procumbens with P. axillaris, molecular data from nuclear and chloroplast DNA regions have provided conflicting signals. In this study, we tested previous phylogenetic hypotheses using sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacers and chloroplast ndhF gene from multiple individuals of each of the three species. We also estimated the time of divergence between eastern Asia and eastern North America. Our results support the morphological and cytological conclusion that P. procumbens is more closely related to P. axillaris than to P. terminalis. The estimated time of divergence of P. axillaris and P. procumbens was 14.6±5.5 mya, consistent with estimates from many other eastern Asian–North American disjunct genera. The migration of Pachysandra populations from eastern Asia to North America might have occurred by way of the North Atlantic land bridge.

Key words: Buxaceae, divergence time, ndhF, nrDNA ITS, Pachysandra