Molecular phylogeny of Cucumis species as revealed by consensus chloroplast SSR marker length and sequence variation

S-M Chung, J E Staub, J-F Chen
Genome Génome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada 2006, 49 (3): 219-29
To investigate phylogenetic relationships in the genus Cucumis, 9 consensus chloroplast simple sequence repeat (ccSSR) primer pairs (ccSSR3, 9, 11, 13, 14, 17, 20, 21, and 23) were employed for DNA fragment length variation and 5 amplified fragments, ccSSR4, 12, 13, 19, and 20, were sequenced using total DNA from 13 accessions representing 7 African Cucumis species (x = 12), 3 Cucumis melo L. (x = 12) accessions, 2 Cucumis sativus L. (x = 7) accessions, and 1 Cucumis hystrix Chakr. (x = 12) accession. A Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai (x = 11) accession was used as an outgroup. While fragment length analysis revealed the existence of 3 major species clusters (i.e., a group of African Cucumis species, a group composed of C. melo accessions, and a group containing C. sativus and C. hystrix species), sequence variation analysis identified 2 major species clusters (i.e., a group of African Cucumis species and a group composed of C. melo, C. sativus, and C. hystrix species). Comparative analysis using nuclear DNA (previous studies) and cpDNA sequence substitution data resulted in the placement of C. melo and C. sativus in different cluster groupings. Thus, both nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA should be employed and compared when a putative progenitor or specimens of an ancestral Cucumis species lineage is investigated. In addition, C. ficifolius (2x) and C. aculeatus (4x) of the African Cucumis species clustered together in this study. This result does not agree with reported isozyme analyses, but does agree with previously characterized chromosome homologies between these 2 species. Although African Cucumis species and C. hystrix do not share a close relationship, genetic affinities between C. sativus and C. hystrix are considerable. Combined evidence from previously published studies and data presented herein lend support to the hypothesis that C. hystrix is either a progenitor species of C. sativus or that they at least share a common ancestral lineage.

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