Haplotyping of Cornus florida and C. kousa chloroplasts: Insights into species-level differences and patterns of plastic DNA variation in cultivars
Nowicki, M., S. Boggess, A. M. Saxton, D. Hadziabdic Guerry, Q. Y. (Jenny) Xiang, T. Molnar, M. L. Huff, M. E. Staton, Y. Zhao, and R. N. Trigiano.  2018.  PLoS ONE, 13 (10), e0205407.

Chloroplast DNA is a part of plant non-nuclear genome, and is of particular interest for lineage studies. Moreover, the non-coding regions of cpDNA display higher mutation rates than the conserved coding cpDNA, which has been employed for phylogenetic and population research. We analyzed the cpDNA of 332 gDNA samples from collections of Cornus florida and C. kousa (commercial cultivars, breeding selections, and wild kousa accessions from Asia), using the chlorotyping system developed on North America-native, wild accessions of C. florida. Our results indicated significant differences in chlorotype frequencies between the two species. Cornus florida samples were represented by all major chlorotypes previously described, whereas all C. kousa samples analyzed had only one of the chlorotype patterns shown by C. florida. The chlorotyping analytic panel was then expanded by sequencing the targeted three non-coding cpDNA regions. Results indicated a major difference in the maternally-inherited cpDNA between the two closely related Big-Bracted Cornus species. Chlorotype diversity and differences in the proportion of informative sites in the cpDNA regions of focus emphasized the importance of proper loci choice for cpDNA-based comparative studies between the closely related dogwood species. Phylogenetic analyses of the retrieved sequences for the other species of Cornus provided information on the relative utility of the cpDNA regions studied and helped delineate the groups (Big-Bracted, Cornelian Cherries, Blue/White-Fruited) within the genus. Genealogical relationships based on the cpDNA sequences and the inferred chlorotype networks indicated the need for continued analyses across further non-coding cpDNA regions to improve the phylogenetic resolution of dogwoods.