rbcL data reveal two monophyletic groups of filmy ferns (Filicopsida: Hymenophyllaceae).
The "filmy fern" family, Hymenophyllaceae, is traditionally partitioned into two principal genera, Trichomanes s.l. (sensu lato) and Hymenophyllum s.l., based upon sorus shape characters. This basic split in the family has been widely debated this past century and hence was evaluated here by using rbcL nucleotide sequence data in a phylogenetic study of 26 filmy ferns and nine outgroup taxa. Our results confirm the monophyly of the family and provide robust support for two monophyletic groups that correspond to the two classical genera. In addition, we show that some taxa of uncertain affinity, such as the monotypic genera Cardiomanes and Serpyllopsis, and at least one species of Microtrichomanes, are convincingly included within Hymenophyllum s.l. The tubular- or conical-based sorus that typifies Trichomanes s.l. and Cardiomanes, the most basal member of Hymenophyllum s.l., is a plesiomorphic character state for the family. Tubular-based sori occurring in other members of Hymenophyllum s.l. are most likely derived independently and more than one time. While rbcL data are able to provide a well-supported phylogenetic estimate within Trichomanes s.l., they are inadequate for resolving relationships within Hymenophyllum s.l., which will require data from additional sources. This disparity in resolution reflects differential rates of evolution for rbcL within Hymenophyllaceae.
Pryer, KM; Smith, AR; Hunt, JS; Dubuisson, JY
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