Insights into phylogenetic relationships in Pinus inferred from a comparative analysis of complete chloroplast genomes Xia, Qijing; Zhang, Hongbin; Lv, Dong; El-Kassaby, Yousry A.; Li, Wei
Background Pinus is the largest genus of Pinaceae and the most primitive group of modern genera. Pines have become the focus of many molecular evolution studies because of their wide use and ecological significance. However, due to the lack of complete chloroplast genome data, the evolutionary relationship and classification of pines are still controversial. With the development of new generation sequencing technology, sequence data of pines are becoming abundant. Here, we systematically analyzed and summarized the chloroplast genomes of 33 published pine species. Results Generally, pines chloroplast genome structure showed strong conservation and high similarity. The chloroplast genome length ranged from 114,082 to 121,530 bp with similar positions and arrangements of all genes, while the GC content ranged from 38.45 to 39.00%. Reverse repeats showed a shrinking evolutionary trend, with IRa/IRb length ranging from 267 to 495 bp. A total of 3,205 microsatellite sequences and 5,436 repeats were detected in the studied species chloroplasts. Additionally, two hypervariable regions were assessed, providing potential molecular markers for future phylogenetic studies and population genetics. Through the phylogenetic analysis of complete chloroplast genomes, we offered novel opinions on the genus traditional evolutionary theory and classification. Conclusion We compared and analyzed the chloroplast genomes of 33 pine species, verified the traditional evolutionary theory and classification, and reclassified some controversial species classification. This study is helpful in analyzing the evolution, genetic structure, and the development of chloroplast DNA markers in Pinus.
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