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      Towards resolving Lamiales relationships: insights from rapidly evolving chloroplast sequences


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          In the large angiosperm order Lamiales, a diverse array of highly specialized life strategies such as carnivory, parasitism, epiphytism, and desiccation tolerance occur, and some lineages possess drastically accelerated DNA substitutional rates or miniaturized genomes. However, understanding the evolution of these phenomena in the order, and clarifying borders of and relationships among lamialean families, has been hindered by largely unresolved trees in the past.


          Our analysis of the rapidly evolving trnK/matK, trnL-F and rps16 chloroplast regions enabled us to infer more precise phylogenetic hypotheses for the Lamiales. Relationships among the nine first-branching families in the Lamiales tree are now resolved with very strong support. Subsequent to Plocospermataceae, a clade consisting of Carlemanniaceae plus Oleaceae branches, followed by Tetrachondraceae and a newly inferred clade composed of Gesneriaceae plus Calceolariaceae, which is also supported by morphological characters. Plantaginaceae (incl. Gratioleae) and Scrophulariaceae are well separated in the backbone grade; Lamiaceae and Verbenaceae appear in distant clades, while the recently described Linderniaceae are confirmed to be monophyletic and in an isolated position.


          Confidence about deep nodes of the Lamiales tree is an important step towards understanding the evolutionary diversification of a major clade of flowering plants. The degree of resolution obtained here now provides a first opportunity to discuss the evolution of morphological and biochemical traits in Lamiales. The multiple independent evolution of the carnivorous syndrome, once in Lentibulariaceae and a second time in Byblidaceae, is strongly supported by all analyses and topological tests. The evolution of selected morphological characters such as flower symmetry is discussed. The addition of further sequence data from introns and spacers holds promise to eventually obtain a fully resolved plastid tree of Lamiales.

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          Most cited references 72

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          Universal primers for amplification of three non-coding regions of chloroplast DNA.

          Six primers for the amplification of three non-coding regions of chloroplast DNA via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have been designed. In order to find out whether these primers were universal, we used them in an attempt to amplify DNA from various plant species. The primers worked for most species tested including algae, bryophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms and angiosperms. The fact that they amplify chloroplast DNA non-coding regions over a wide taxonomic range means that these primers may be used to study the population biology (in supplying markers) and evolution (inter- and probably intraspecific phylogenies) of plants.
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            An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II

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              Estimating absolute rates of molecular evolution and divergence times: a penalized likelihood approach.

               J. Sanderson (2001)
              Rates of molecular evolution vary widely between lineages, but quantification of how rates change has proven difficult. Recently proposed estimation procedures have mainly adopted highly parametric approaches that model rate evolution explicitly. In this study, a semiparametric smoothing method is developed using penalized likelihood. A saturated model in which every lineage has a separate rate is combined with a roughness penalty that discourages rates from varying too much across a phylogeny. A data-driven cross-validation criterion is then used to determine an optimal level of smoothing. This criterion is based on an estimate of the average prediction error associated with pruning lineages from the tree. The methods are applied to three data sets of six genes across a sample of land plants. Optimally smoothed estimates of absolute rates entailed 2- to 10-fold variation across lineages.

                Author and article information

                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central
                12 November 2010
                : 10
                : 352
                [1 ]Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Muenster, Hüfferstraße 1, 48149 Münster, Germany
                [2 ]Department Biology, Systematic Botany and Mycology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Menzinger Straße 67, D-80638 Munich, Germany
                [3 ]Institut für Integrierte Naturwissenschaften - Biologie, Universität Koblenz-Landau, Universitätsstraße 1, 56070 Koblenz, Germany
                [4 ]Institut für Biologie und Umweltwissenschaften (IBU), Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Carl von Ossietzky-Str. 9-11, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
                [5 ]Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem and Institute for Biology, Dahlem Center of Plant Sciences (DCPS), Freie Universität Berlin, Königin Luise-Straße 6-8, 14195 Berlin, Germany
                Copyright ©2010 Schäferhoff et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Evolutionary Biology


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