HomeLPU-Laguna Journal of Arts and Sciencesvol. 4 no. 1 (2021)

Assessment on the Phylogenetic Position of Rafflesia aurantia with the Endemic Rafflesia Species in the Philippines

Carlos Caesar Caday | Nathaniel Quinn V. Diez | Ryan Joseph Vidal | Enrico C. Garcia

Discipline: Environmental Science



Rafflesia aurantia is the most recently discovered Rafflesia that can be found on the Philippines which makes it the only species to not have a phylogenetic position in the phylogenetic tree of the endemic Rafflesia species in the Philippines. The study seeks to provide an analysis on the closest relative of Rafflesia aurantia with the endemic Rafflesia species in the Philippines. Specifically, the study aims to reassess the phylogenetic relationship of Rafflesia aurantia with the endemic rafflesia species in the Philippines in terms of its molecular data and morphoanatomy. The researchers formulated phylogenetic hypotheses on the construction of a new tree that specifies where Rafflesia aurantia is placed on the proposed phylogenetic tree. The researchers used a descriptive quantitative approach to this study and the data gathered were collected through a bibliographic technique and molecular data were gathered from GenBank. The collected FASTA format of nucleotide sequences of the twelve Rafflesia species were placed in the MEGA software with a bootstrap of 100. Significant relationship among species was found even though morphology and molecular analysis are both different factors. This is due to the avoidance of gamete wastage and hybridization which are coping mechanisms of the Rafflesia in order to conserve gene even with the ecological condition. It is found out that using morphological assimilation on determining the phylogenetic position of Rafflesia species are closely correlated to the phylogenetic tree constructed using molecular data of the different species. The data showed that Rafflesia aurantia belongs in the clade between Rafflesia baletei and Rafflesia lobata in terms of its morphology. Since DNA sample of Rafflesia aurantia is not yet available, it is recommended for future researchers to further prove and solidify the proposed position Rafflesia aurantia among the phylogenetic tree of Rafflesia species.