Low-copy nuclear genes are a potential source of new phylogenetic information in the palm family. We describe two genes that resolve relationships at various taxonomic levels within the family. Malate synthase, a glyoxylate cycle enzyme, appears to be encoded by a single-copy gene in palms. Exon sequences from the malate synthase gene are alignable across the family and with sequences from outgroup taxa, and are useful for resolving relationships among major clades of palms. Malate synthase intron sequences are alignable across the palm subfamily Arecoideae and provide phylogenetic resolution among its genera. Two copies of the gene encoding phosphoribulokinase, a pentose phosphate pathway enzyme, appear to be present in palms. Sequences of one phosphoribulokinase paralogue have been useful for a species-level phylogeny of the genus Hyophorbe. The malate synthase and phosphoribulokinase genes may also be useful sources of data for studies in other groups of plants.

Key words: Arecaceae, malate synthase, molecular phylogenetics, Palmae, phosphoribulokinase