D. Don, whose bulb is used in a well-known traditional Chinese medicine to relieve cough and eliminate phlegm, is one of the most important medicinal plants of Fritillaria
L. The species is widely distributed among the alpine regions in southwestern China and possesses complex morphological variations in different distributions. A series of newly related species were reported, based on obscure morphological differences. As a result, F. cirrhosa
and its closely related species constitute a taxonomically complex group. However, it is difficult to accurately identify these species and reveal their phylogenetic relationships using traditional taxonomy. Molecular markers and gene fragments have been adopted but they are not able to afford sufficient phylogenetic resolution in the genus. Here, we report the complete chloroplast genome sequences of F. cirrhosa
and its closely related species using next generation sequencing (NGS) technology. Eight plastid genomes ranged from 151,058 bp to 152,064 bp in length and consisted of 115 genes. Gene content, gene order, GC content, and IR/SC boundary structures were highly similar among these genomes. SSRs and five large repeat sequences were identified and the total number of them ranged from 73 to 79 and 63 to 75, respectively. Six highly divergent regions were successfully identified that could be used as potential genetic markers of Fritillaria.
Phylogenetic analyses revealed that eight Fritillaria
species were clustered into three clades with strong supports and F. cirrhosa
was closely related to F. przewalskii
and F. sinica
. Overall, this study indicated that the complete chloroplast genome sequence was an efficient tool for identifying species in taxonomically complex groups and exploring their phylogenetic relationships.