Evolution of Mexican Bursera (Burseraceae) inferred from ITS, ETS, and 5S nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences

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66 Scopus citations


I reconstructed a phylogeny of 66 species and varieties of Bursera and 9 outgroup species using sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the 5S non-transcribed region (5S-NTS), and the external transcribed region (ETS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA. This study extends a previously proposed parsimony-based phylogenetic study that used the ITS sequences of 57 Bursera species and five outgroups. Parsimony and maximum likelihood methods were used to infer the phylogeny in this new study. Analyses of the combined data sets largely confirmed the phylogenetic relationships proposed by the previous molecular study but generated a considerably more robust topology. The new phylogenies corroborate the monophyly of the genus, and its division into the two monophyletic subgenera or sections, Bursera and Bullockia. The current analyses also identify four main groups of species in section Bursera, and two in section Bullockia, confirming some of the previously proposed groups based on fruit, flower, and leaf morphology. One previously problematic species B. sarcopoda, which has sometimes been placed in Commiphora, is shown to belong in Bursera. Another controversial species, Commiphora leptophloeos, which was thought to belong to Bursera, falls within Commiphora.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-309
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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