Dioon Lindl. (Zamiaceae): Perspectives from phylogeny and a population genetic study of Dioon edule

Jeremy Moynihan, Florida International University


Dioon Lindl. (Zamiaceae) is a small genus restricted to Mexico (12 species) and Honduras (one species). Previous systematic studies have been unable to fully resolve species relationships within the genus. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted with data from several sources, including Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms from the chloroplast genome, morphology, two introns of the low copy nuclear gene S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine hydrolase (SAHH) and the 5.8S/ITS2 regions of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. The goals of the study were to construct a total evidence species level phylogeny and to explore current biogeographical hypotheses. None of the analyses performed produced a fully resolved topology. Dioon is comprised of two main lineages (the Edule and Spinulosum Clades), which represents an ancient divergence within the genus. The two introns of the nuclear gene SAHH offer additional evidence for the split into two lineages. Intron 2 contains a 18 bp deletion in the Spinulosum Clade, providing a synapomorphy for that group. The 5.8S/ITS2 regions were highly polymorphic and subsequently omitted from the combined analyses. In order to visualize congruence between morphology and molecular data, morphological characters were mapped onto the combined molecular tree. Current biogeographical hypotheses of a general northward pattern of migration and speciation are supported here. However, sister relationships within the Edule Clade are not fully resolved. Seven DNA microsatellite markers were developed to investigate patterns of genetic variation of seven populations of D. edule, a species restricted to Eastern Mexico. We found that most of the genetic variation lies within populations (Ho = 0.2166–0.3657) and that levels of population differentiation are low (Fst = 0.088); this finding is congruent with the breeding system of this species, dioicy. Four of the populations deviate from Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium and have a high number of identical genotypes, we suggest that this unexpected pattern is due to the life-history strategy of the species coupled with the few number of polymorphic loci detected in these populations. Our results are not congruent with earlier evidence from morphology and allozyme markers that suggest that the two northernmost populations represent a distinct entity that is recognized by some taxonomists as D. angustifolium.

Subject Area

Plant biology

Recommended Citation

Moynihan, Jeremy, "Dioon Lindl. (Zamiaceae): Perspectives from phylogeny and a population genetic study of Dioon edule" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3353586.