APETALA3 (AP3)/DEFICIENS (DEF) is a MADS-box transcription factor that is involved in establishing the identity of petal and stamen floral organs. The AP3/DEF gene lineage has been extensively examined throughout the angiosperms in order to better understand its role in floral diversity and evolution. As a result, a large number of cloned AP3/DEF orthologues are available, which can be used for the design of taxon specific primers for phylogeny reconstruction of close relatives of the group of interest. Following this reasoning, we investigated the phylogenetic utility of the two AP3/DEF paralogues (ImpDEF1 and ImpDEF2) that were recently identified in the genus Impatiens (Balsaminaceae). K-domain introns 4 and 5 of both AP3/DEF duplicates were amplified and sequenced for 59 Impatiens species. Phylogenetic analyses of the separated and combined ImpDEF1 and ImpDEF2 data sets result in highly congruent topologies with the previously obtained chloroplast atpB-rbcL data set. Combination of chloroplast and nuclear matrices results in a well-supported evolutionary hypothesis of Impatiens. Our results show that introns 4 and 5 in AP3/DEF-like genes are a valuable source of characters for phylogenetic studies at the infrageneric level.

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Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Staff publications

Janssens, S. B., Geuten, K., Viaene, T., Yong-Ming, Y., Yi, S., & Smets, E. (2007). Phylogenetic utility of the AP3/DEF K-domain and its molecular evolution in Impatiens (Balsaminaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 43, 225–239.