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Nucleic Acid Comparisons As A Tool In Understanding Species Interrelationships And Phylogeny

Diana B. Stein

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SynopsisStudies comparing nucleic acids of some pteridophytes with others or with angiosperms are briefly reviewed. Amongst the pteridophytes, the fern genus Osmunda has been most thoroughly investigated by DNA sequence comparisons. O. cinnamomea, O. claytoniana, and O. regalis have equally diverged DNA sequences suggesting that evolutionary lines leading to these three species separated at about the same time; taxonomic placements that link any two of the three species closely together are, therefore, inappropriate. DNAs of the hybrid fern, O. × ruggii, were examined by analysis of restriction fragments of chloroplast DNA and by nuclear DNA hybridisation. The results support the previously proposed parentage.