A chloroplast DNA phylogeny of lilacs (Syringa, Oleaceae): Plastome groups show a strong correlation with crossing groups

Ki Joong Kim, Robert K. Jansen

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Phylogenetic relationships and genomic compatibility were compared for 60 accessions of Syringa using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) and nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) markers. A total of 669 cpDNA variants, 653 of which were potentially phylogenetically informative, was detected using 22 restriction enzymes. Phylogenetic analyses reveal four strongly supported plastome groups that correspond to four genetically incompatible crossing groups. Relationships of the four plastome groups (I(II(III,IV))) correlate well with the infrageneric classification except for ser. Syringa and Pinnatifoliae. Group I, which includes subg. Ligustrina, forms a basal lineage within Syringa. Group II includes sen Syringa and Pinnatifoliae and the two series have high compatibility and low sequence divergence. Group III consists of three well-defined species groups of ser. Pubescentes. Group IV comprises all members of sen Villosae and has the lowest interspecific cpDNA sequence divergences. Comparison of cpDNA sequence divergence with crossability data indicates that hybrids have not been successfully generated between species with divergence greater than 0.7%. Hybrid barriers are strong among the four major plastome groups, which have sequence divergence estimates ranging from 1.096 to 1.962%. In contrast, fully fertile hybrids occur between species pairs with sequence divergence below 0.4%. Three regions of the plastome have length variants of greater than 100 bp, and these indels identify 12 different plastome types that correlate with phylogenetic trees produced from cpDNA restriction site data. Biparentally inherited nuclear rDNA and maternally inherited cpDNA length variants enable the identification of the specific parentage of several lilac hybrids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1338-1351
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Crossing group
  • Genomic compatibility
  • Lilacs
  • Oleaceae
  • Plastome group
  • Sequence divergence
  • Syringa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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