EVOLUTIONARY RELATIONSHIPS OF THE FEDERALLY LISTED ENDANGERED SPECIES AGALINIS ACUTA

Abstract

Agalinis acuta (Orobanchaceae) is a federally listed endangered plant species native to the mid-Atlantic and northeastern coastal plains of the United States. Due to morphological ambiguity and molecular similarity between A. acuta and Agalinis tenella and Agalinis decemloba a conservation priority is to determine whether A. acuta represents an evolutionarily distinct entity worthy of protection under the Endangered Species Act. To resolve this question, a phylogenetic study was first conducted based on seven chloroplast DNA loci and the nuclear DNA locus ITS from 79 individuals representing 29 Agalinis species. A study evaluating the utility of those cpDNA loci and three analytical techniques for the purpose of DNA barcoding was also conducted. The phylogenetic study indicated that A. acuta was perhaps evolutionarily indistinct from A. decemloba and A. tenella. Based on the results of subsequent analyses of 21 microsatellite loci and morphological data evaluated under myriad species concepts, A. acuta, A. decemloba, and A. tenella best represent a single species with two subspecies; the former two putative species would constitute a subspecies called A. decemloba ssp. decemloba and A. tenella would be A. decemloba ssp. tenella

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oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.916.5131Last time updated on 11/1/2017

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