Molecular phylogeny of hybridizing species from the genus Spartina Schreb. (Poaceae).Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2002 Feb; 22(2):303-14.MP
Interspecific hybridization events have been reported in the genus Spartina Schreb. (Poaceae), involving the east American species Spartina alterniflora, and including either introgression (e.g., with the western American Spartina foliosa) or allopolyploid speciation (e.g., with the Euro-African Spartina maritima). Molecular phylogenetic analysis of the genus has been undertaken in order to understand phylogenetic relationships and genetic divergence among these hybridizing species. Twelve Spartina species have been sequenced for two nuclear DNA regions (ITS of ribosomal DNA, and part of the Waxy gene) and one chloroplast DNA spacer (trnT-trnL). Separate and conditional combined phylogenetic analyses using Cynodon dactylon as the outgroup have been conducted. Spartina is composed of two lineages. The first clade includes all hexaploid species: the Euro-African S. maritima (2n = 60), the East-American S. alterniflora (2n = 62) and the West-American S. foliosa (2n = 60). Spartina alterniflora appears as a closely related sister species to S. foliosa. Although belonging to the same lineage, Spartina maritima appears consistently more genetically differentiated from S. alterniflora than S. foliosa. The tetraploid species S. argentinensis (2n = 40) is placed at the base of this first clade according to the Waxy data, but its position is not well resolved by the other sequences. The second well-supported main lineage within genus Spartina includes the other tetraploid American species. Significant incongruence has been encountered between the waxy based tree and both the ITS and trnT-trnL trees concerning the position of S. densiflora, suggesting a possible reticulate evolution for this species. The results agree with hybridization patterns occurring in Spartina: introgression involving closely related species (S. alterniflora and S. foliosa) on one hand, and alloploid speciation involving more differentiated species (S. alterniflora and S. maritima) on the other hand.