Recent oceanic long-distance dispersal and divergence in the amphi-Atlantic rain forest genus Renealmia L.f. (Zingiberaceae)
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Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Renealmia L.f. (Zingiberaceae) is one of the few tropical plant genera with numerous species in both Africa and South America but not in Asia. Based on phylogenetic analysis of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and chloroplast trnL-F DNA, Renealmia is shown to be monophyletic with high branch support. Low sequence divergence found in the two genome regions (ITS: 0-2.4%; trnL-F: 0-1.9%) suggests recent diversification within the genus. Molecular divergence age estimates give further support to the recent origin of the genus and show that Renealmia has attained its amphi-Atlantic distribution by an oceanic long-distance dispersal event from Africa to South America during the Miocene or Pliocene (15.8-2.7 My ago). Some support is found for the hypothesis that speciation in neotropical Renealmia was influenced by the Andean orogeny. Speciation has been approximately simultaneous on both sides of the Atlantic, but increased taxon sampling is required to compare the speciation rates between the New World and Old World tropics.