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Phylogenetic insights into the correlates of dioecy in meadow-rues (Thalictrum, Ranunculaceae).

TitlePhylogenetic insights into the correlates of dioecy in meadow-rues (Thalictrum, Ranunculaceae).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSoza VL, Brunet J, Liston A, Smith P S, Di Stilio VS
JournalMolecular phylogenetics and evolution
Date Published2012 Apr
KeywordsBayes Theorem, Biological Evolution, DNA, Plant, flowers, Hermaphroditic Organisms, Likelihood Functions, Phylogeny, pollination, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Thalictrum, Wind

<p>Numerous studies have examined the evolution of sexual systems in angiosperms, but few explore the interaction between these and the evolution of pollination mode. Wind pollination is often associated with unisexual flowers, but which evolved first and played a causative role in the evolution of the other is unclear. Thalictrum, meadow-rues (Ranunculaceae), provides a unique opportunity to study the evolution of these traits because it contains insect and wind pollination and four sexual systems. We used a phylogenetic approach to reconstruct ancestral states for sexual system, pollination mode, and geographic distribution in Thalictrum, and tested for correlations to uncover the factors involved in the evolution of unisexuality and wind pollination. Our results show that dioecy, andro- and gynomonoecy evolved at least twice from hermaphroditism. Wind pollination, unisexual flowers, and New World distribution were all significantly correlated. Wind pollination may have evolved early in the genus, followed by multiple losses and gains, and likely preceded the origin of unisexual flowers in several cases; we found no evidence for unisexual flowers evolving prior to wind pollination. Given a broad scale study showing the evolution of dioecy before wind pollination, our results from a finer scale analysis highlight that different evolutionary pathways are likely to occur throughout angiosperms.</p>

Alternate JournalMol. Phylogenet. Evol.