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A molecular phylogeny of Hypnales (Bryophyta) inferred from ITS2 sequence-structure data

Benjamin Merget and Matthias Wolf*

Author Affiliations

Department of Bioinformatics, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:320  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-320

Published: 25 November 2010



Hypnales comprise over 50% of all pleurocarpous mosses. They provide a young radiation complicating phylogenetic analyses. To resolve the hypnalean phylogeny, it is necessary to use a phylogenetic marker providing highly variable features to resolve species on the one hand and conserved features enabling a backbone analysis on the other. Therefore we used highly variable internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequences and conserved secondary structures, as deposited with the ITS2 Database, simultaneously.


We built an accurate and in parts robustly resolved large scale phylogeny for 1,634 currently available hypnalean ITS2 sequence-structure pairs.


Profile Neighbor-Joining revealed a possible hypnalean backbone, indicating that most of the hypnalean taxa classified as different moss families are polyphyletic assemblages awaiting taxonomic changes.