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Improving phylogenetic inference of core Chlorophyta using chloroplast sequences with strong phylogenetic signals and heterogeneous models

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

  • Ling Fang
  • Frederik Leliaert
  • Phil M Novis
  • Zhenhua Zhang
  • Huan Zhu
  • Guoxiang Liu
  • David Penny
  • Bojian Zhong

Phylogenetic relationships within the green algal phylum Chlorophyta have proven difficult to resolve. The core Chlorophyta include Chlorophyceae, Ulvophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae, Pedinophyceae and Chlorodendrophyceae, but the relationships among these classes remain unresolved and the monophyly of Ulvophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae are highly controversial. We analyzed a dataset of 101 green algal species and 73 protein-coding genes sampled from complete and partial chloroplast genomes, including six newly sequenced ulvophyte genomes (Blidingia minima NIES-1837, Ulothrix zonata, Halochlorococcum sp. NIES-1838, Scotinosphaera sp. NIES-154, Caulerpa brownii and Cephaleuros sp. HZ-2017). We applied the Tree Certainty (TC) score to quantify the level of incongruence between phylogenetic trees in chloroplast genomic datasets, and show that the conflicting phylogenetic trees of core Chlorophyta stem from the most GC-heterogeneous sites. With removing the most GC-heterogeneous sites, our chloroplast phylogenomic analyses using heterogeneous models consistently support monophyly of the Chlorophyceae and of the Trebouxiophyceae, but the Ulvophyceae was resolved as polyphyletic. Our analytical framework provides an efficient approach to reconstruct the optimal phylogenetic relationships by minimizing conflicting signals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular phylogenetics and evolution
Pages (from-to)248-255
Publication statusPublished - 8-Jun-2018
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