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Timing and consequences of recurrent polyploidy in meadow-rues (Thalictrum, Ranunculaceae)

TitleTiming and consequences of recurrent polyploidy in meadow-rues (Thalictrum, Ranunculaceae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSoza VL, Haworth KL, Di Stilio VS
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution

<p>The discovery of ancient whole-genome duplications in eukaryotic lineages has renewed the interest in polyploidy and its effects on the diversification of organisms. Polyploidy has large-scale effects on both genotype and phenotype and has been linked to the evolution of genome size, dioecy, and changes in ecological interactions, such as pollinator visitation. Here, we take a molecular systematics approach to examine the evolution of polyploidy in the plant genus Thalictrum (Ranunculaceae) and test its correlation to changes in genome size, sexual system, and pollination mode. Thalictrum is an ideal study system due to its extensive ploidy range and floral diversity. Phylogenetic analyses were used for character reconstructions, correlation tests, and dating estimates. Our results suggest that polyploidization occurred frequently and recently in the evolution of Thalictrum, mostly within the last 10.6&ndash;5.8 My, coinciding with the diversification of particular clades. In spite of an overall trend of genomic downsizing accompanying polyploidy in angiosperms and proportional increases observed at finer scales, our genome size estimates for Thalictrum show no correlation with chromosome number. Instead, we observe genomic expansion in diploids and genomic contraction in polyploids with increased age. Additionally, polyploidy is not correlated with dioecy in Thalictrum; therefore, other factors must have influenced the evolution of separate sexes in this group. A novel finding from our study is the association of polyploidy with shifts to wind pollination, in particular, during a time period of global cooling and mountain uplift in the Americas.</p>

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