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Evolutionary history of the monospecific Compsopogon genus (Compsopogonales, Rhodophyta)
  Published online: November 30, 1999.
ABSTRACT
Compsopogon specimens collected in China were examined based on morphology and DNA sequences. Five molecular markers from different genome compartments including rbcL, COI, 18S rDNA, psbA, and UPA were identified and used to construct a phylogenetic relationship. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that two different morphological types from China clustered into an independent clade with Compsopogon specimens when compared to other global samples. The Compsopogon clade exhibited robust support values, revealing the affiliation of the samples to Compsopogon caeruleus. Although the samples were distributed in a close geographical area, unexpected sequence divergences between the Chinese samples implied that they were introduced by different dispersal events and from varied origins. It was speculated that Compsopogon originated in North America, a portion of the Laurentia landmass situated in the Rodinia supercontinent at approximately 573.89-1,701.50 million years ago during the Proterozoic era. Although Compsopogon had evolved for a rather long time, genetic conservation had limited its variability and rate of evolution, resulting in the current monospecific global distribution. Additional global specimens and sequence information were required to increase our understanding of the evolutionary history of this ancient red algal lineage.


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