Comparative chloroplast genomes of eleven Schima (Theaceae) species: Insights into DNA barcoding and phylogeny

Xiang Qin Yu, Bryan T. Drew, Jun Bo Yang, Lian Ming Gao, De Zhu Li

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25 Scopus citations


Schima is an ecologically and economically important woody genus in tea family (Theaceae). Unresolved species delimitations and phylogenetic relationships within Schima limit our understanding of the genus and hinder utilization of the genus for economic purposes. In the present study, we conducted comparative analysis among the complete chloroplast (cp) genomes of 11 Schima species. Our results indicate that Schima cp genomes possess a typical quadripartite structure, with conserved genomic structure and gene order. The size of the Schima cp genome is about 157 kilo base pairs (kb). They consistently encode 114 unique genes, including 80 protein-coding genes, 30 tRNAs, and 4 rRNAs, with 17 duplicated in the inverted repeat (IR). These cp genomes are highly conserved and do not show obvious expansion or contraction of the IR region. The percent variability of the 68 coding and 93 noncoding (>150 bp) fragments is consistently less than 3%. The seven most widely touted DNA barcode regions as well as one promising barcode candidate showed low sequence divergence. Eight mutational hotspots were identified from the 11 cp genomes. These hotspots may potentially be useful as specific DNA barcodes for species identification of Schima. The 58 cpSSR loci reported here are complementary to the microsatellite markers identified from the nuclear genome, and will be leveraged for further population-level studies. Phylogenetic relationships among the 11 Schima species were resolved with strong support based on the cp genome data set, which corresponds well with the species distribution pattern. The data presented here will serve as a foundation to facilitate species identification, DNA barcoding and phylogenetic reconstructions for future exploration of Schima.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0178026
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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