Phylogenetic and Phytochemical Studies of Apios (Fabaceae)

Student Author(s)

Holly Vander Stel

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jianhua Li; Dr. Kenneth Brown

Document Type


Event Date



Apios is a perennial herbaceous plant genus of 6-10 species, all of which have pinnately compound leaves with milky sap in the petioles and young shoots. Some species have edible tubers that contain high level of protein and isoflavones (e.g., genistein) that may be beneficial to human health and cancer treatment. Geographically, Apios shows a disjunct distribution between eastern North America and eastern Asia. In this study we aimed at examining interspecific relationships of Apios, estimating the time of formation of the intercontinental disjunction, and determining whether genistein occurs in all species of Apios. Our results suggest that the two North American species are more closely related to each other than either is to the Asian species, and their ancestral populations may have migrated from Asia. All species tested produce genistein, which occurs mostly in the tubers.

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