J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2009, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (9): 889-899.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00856.x

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Phylogenetic Origin of Phyllolobium with a Further Implication for Diversifiction of Astragalus in China

Mingli Zhang1*, Yun Kang2*, Lihua Zhou3 and Dietrich Podlech4   

  1. 1 Laboratory of Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation in Arid Region, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China; Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2 Pharmacy School, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
    3 Department of Botany, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA 94118-4503, USA
    4 Faculty of Biology, Münich University, Münich D-80336, Germany
  • Received:2008-11-14 Accepted:2009-06-15 Published:2009-08-27
  • About author: * *Authors for correspondence Tel: +86 10 6283 6477; +86 21 5198 0131; Fax: +86 10 6259 0296; +86 21 5198 0131; E-mail: zhangml@ibcas.ac.cn and ykang123@yahoo.com.cn


Astragalus is a species-rich genus occurring in the western arid habitats in China and its diversification and infrageneric relationships in this region remain unclear. In the present study, based on molecular data, we aim to (i) test whether Phyllolobium (previously treated as a subgenus Pogonophace in Astragalus) should be warranted; and (ii) date the origin of Phyllolobium and probable diversification of Astragalus sensu stricto (s.s.). We sequenced five species from Phyllolobium first and collected all related sequences from the genus, Astragalus s.s and their close relatives (Oxytropis and Caragana etc.). Our phylogenetic analyses suggested that all species of Phyllolobium comprise amonophyletic sister-group to genera of the subtribe Coluteinae. Molecular dating suggested that Phyllolobium and Astragalus s.s. originated around 8 and 10 million years ago. These two estimates are highly consistent with the intense uplifts of the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau inferred from geological evidence. In addition, one section of Pogonophace (Sect. Robusti) was estimated to originate 2.5 million years ago and this section with a tendency for dry habitats seems to be evidence of Asian intensified aridity resulting from the intense uplift of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

Zhang M, Kang Y, Zhou L, Podlech D (2009). Phylogenetic origin of Phyllolobium with a further implication for diversification of Astragalus in China. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 51(9), 889–899.

Key words: Astragalus, dating, distribution pattern, diversification, Phyllolobium, phylogeny, Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau Sino-Himalayan flora.

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