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Mitochondrial sequences are an important source of data in animal phylogenetics, equivalent in importance to plastid sequences in plants. However, in recent years plant systematists have begun exploring the mitochondrial genome as a source of phylogenetically useful characters. The plant mitochondrial genome is renowned for its variability in size, structure, and gene organization, but this need not be of concern for the application of sequence data in phylogenetics. However, the incorporation of reverse transcribed mitochondrial genes ("processed paralogs") and the recurring transfer of genes from the mitochondrion to the nucleus are evolutionary events that must be taken into account. RNA editing of mitochondrial genes is sometimes considered a problem in phylogenetic reconstruction, but we regard it only as a mechanism that may increase variability at edited sites and change the codon position bias accordingly. Additionally, edited sites may prove a valuable tool in identifying processed paralogs. An overview of genes and sequences used in phylogenetic studies of angiosperms is presented. In the monocots, a large amount of mitochondrial sequence data is being collected together with sequence data from plastid and nuclear genes, thus offering an opportunity to compare data from different genomic compartments. The mitochondrial and plastid data are incongruent when organelle gene trees are reconstructed. Possible reasons for the observed incongruence involve sampling of paralogous sequences and highly divergent substitution rates, potentially leading to longbranch attraction. The above problems are addressed in Acorales, Alismatales, Poales, Liliaceae, the "Anthericum clade" (in Agavaceae), and in some achlorophyllous taxa.

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© 2006 Gitte Peterson, Ole Seberg, Jerrold I. Davis, Douglas H. Goldman, Dennis W. Stevenson, Lisa M. Campbell. Fabian A. Michelangeli, Chelsea D. Specht, Mark W. Chase, Michael F. Fay, J. Chris Pires, John V. Freudenstein, Christopher R. Hardy, Mark P. Simmons

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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