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Citation for Study 1451

About Citation title: "Molecular phylogenetics of the clover genus (Trifolium--Leguminosae)".
About This study was previously identified under the legacy study ID S1387 (Status: Published).


Ellison N., Liston A., Steiner J., Williams W., & Taylor N. 2006. Molecular phylogenetics of the clover genus (Trifolium--Leguminosae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 39(3): 688-705.


  • Ellison N.
  • Liston A.
  • Steiner J.
  • Williams W.
  • Taylor N.


Trifolium, the clover genus, is one of the largest genera of the legume family. We conducted parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses based on nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer and chloroplast trnL intron sequences obtained from 218 of the ca. 250 species of Trifolium, representatives from 11 genera of the vicioid clade, and an outgroup Lotus. We confirm the monophyly of Trifolium, and propose a new subgeneric classification of the genus based on the phylogenetic results. Incongruence between the nrDNA and cpDNA results suggest 5-6 cases of apparent hybrid speciation, and identifies the putative progenitors of the allopolyploids T. dubium, a widespread weed, and T. repens, the most commonly cultivated clover species. Character state reconstructions confirm that 2n=16 is the ancestral chromosome number in Trifolium, and infer a minimum of 19 instances of aneuploidy and 18 of polyploidy in the genus. The annual lifespan is hypothesized to be ancestral in Trifolium, while transitions to the perennial habit and reversals to the annual habit are common. Our results are consistent with a Mediterranean origin of the genus, probably in the Early Miocene. A single origin of all North and South American species is hypothesized, while the species of sub-Saharan Africa may originate from three separate dispersal events.

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