The value of repetitive sequences in chloroplast DNA for phylogeographic inference: A comment on Vachon & Freeland 2011



Kristin Saltonstall, Fax: +1 (507) 212 8148; E-mail:


In a recent Technical Advance article, Vachon and Freeland (2011, Molecular Ecology Resources, 11, 279-285.) evaluate the utility of repetitive and non-repetitive variation in the chloroplast genome for phylogeographic inference, using variation in Phragmites australis as an example. While we agree that repetitive and nonrepetitive regions evolve at different rates and homoplasy can impact results, we disagree with the conclusion that repetitive regions are inappropriate for large-scale phylogeographic studies. Here we describe limitations to the study dataset and analysis, and provide an alternative viewpoint on the utility of repetitive regions for phylogeographic studies.