• cox;
  • Gracilaria;
  • phylogeny;
  • rRNA;
  • seaweed;
  • systematic

The nucleotide sequence data of molecular markers 18S rRNA, RUBISCO spacer, and cox2-3 intergenic spacer were integrated to infer the phylogeny of Gracilaria species, collected from the western coast of India, reducing the possibility of misidentification and providing greater phylogenetic resolution. A phylogenetic tree was constructed using cox2-3 and RUBISCO spacer sequences, exhibiting the same clustering but differing slightly from that of the rRNA-based phylogenetic tree. The phylogeny inferred from the combined data set confers an analogous pattern of clustering, compared with those of trees constructed from individual data sets. The combined data set resulted in a phylogeny with better resolution, which supported the clade with higher consistency index, retention index, and bootstrap values. It was observed that Gracilaria foliifera (Forssk.) Børgesen is closer to G. corticata (J. Agardh) J. Agardh varieties, while G. salicornia (C. Agardh) E. Y. Dawson and G. fergusonii J. Agardh both originated from the same clade. The position of G. textorii (Suringar) De Toni faltered and toppled between G. salicornia and G. dura (C. Agardh) J. Agardh; however, G. gracilis (Stackh.) M. Steentoft, L. M. Irvine et W. F. Farnham was evidently distant from the rest of the species.