Recent molecular phylogenetic studies of the genus Gymnadenia have demonstrated that it contains sibling taxa, i.e., species that are hardly distinguishable according to morphological traits, yet are phylogenetically rather distant and distinctly distinguishable by molecular methods, which is a rare phenomenon for angiosperms. By sequencing the ITS1-5.8S rDNA-ITS2 fragment the presence of G. densiflora was confirmed for Russia. Our data supported a high degree of genetic differentiation between G. conopsea s. str. and G. densiflora, which confirms their taxonomic rank of species. Morphological analysis has shown that the features that are best for the discrimination between these two species in Northwestern Russia are the length of the lower bract, length of the mid-lobe of the lip, and width of leaves. The ecological and phenological differentiation between G. conopsea s. str. and G. densiflora is briefly reviewed. The ITS sequence variation in these species has been analyzed; the molecular genetic differences of the G. conopsea individuals from the eastern part of the distribution area have been discovered for the first time. Different taxonomic interpretations of Gymnadenia phylogenetic tree topology taking into account the presence of sibling species are discussed in general.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 26, 2013
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