, Volume 142, Issue 4, pp 337–350 | Cite as

One or three species in Megadenia (Brassicaceae): insight from molecular studies

  • E. V. Artyukova
  • M. M. Kozyrenko
  • E. V. Boltenkov
  • P. G. Gorovoy


Megadenia Maxim. is a small genus of the Brassicaceae endemic to East Asia with three disjunct areas of distribution: the eastern edge of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau, the Eastern Sayan Mountains in southern Siberia, and Chandalaz Ridge in the southern Sikhote-Alin Mountains. Although distinct species (M. pygmaea Maxim., M. bardunovii Popov, and M. speluncarum Vorob., Vorosch. and Gorovoj) have been described from each area, they have lately been reduced to synonymy with M. pygmaea due to high morphological similarity. Here, we present the first molecular study of Megadenia. Using the sequences of 11 noncoding regions from the cytoplasmic (chloroplast and mitochondrial) and nuclear genomes, we assessed divergence within the genus and explored the relationships between Megadenia and Biscutella L. Although M. bardunovii, M. speluncarum, and M. pygmaea were found to be indiscernible with regard to the nuclear and mitochondrial markers studied, our data on the plastid genome revealed their distinctness and a clear subdivision of the genus into three lineages matching the three described species. All of the phylogenetic analyses of the chloroplast DNA sequences provide strong support for the inclusion of Megadenia and Biscutella in the tribe Biscutelleae. A dating analysis shows that the genus Megadenia is of Miocene origin and diversification within the genus, which has led to the three extant lineages, most likely occurred during the Early–Middle Pleistocene, in agreement with the vicariance pattern. Given the present-day distribution, differences in habitat preferences and in some anatomical traits, and lack of a direct genealogical relationship, M. pygmaea, M. bardunovii, and M. speluncarum should be treated as distinct species or at least subspecies.


Brassicaceae Biscutelleae Megadenia Molecular markers Phylogeny Coalescent analysis 



This work was supported by the programme of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences “Biological Diversity”, project Genetic Diversity of Natural Populations of Far East Flora (No. 12-I-P30-02). We are grateful to Drs. A.V. Verkhozina and S.G. Kazanovsky (SIPPB SB RAS, Irkutsk, Russia), I.V. Tatanov (Komarov Botanical Institute, St.-Petersburg, Russia), and R.V. Doudkin (FEFU, Vladivostok, Russia) for kindly providing Megadenia samples. The authors thank anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. V. Artyukova
    • 1
  • M. M. Kozyrenko
    • 1
  • E. V. Boltenkov
    • 2
  • P. G. Gorovoy
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Biology and Soil Science, Far East BranchRussian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia
  2. 2.Botanical Garden Institute, Far East BranchRussian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia
  3. 3.G.B. Elyakov Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Far Eastern BranchRussian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia

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