Dissecting the basis of novel trait evolution in a radiation with widespread phylogenetic discordance

Molecular Ecology
Meng WuLeonie C Moyle


Phylogenetic analyses of trait evolution can provide insight into the evolutionary processes that initiate and drive phenotypic diversification. However, recent phylogenomic studies have revealed extensive gene tree-species tree discordance, which can lead to incorrect inferences of trait evolution if only a single species tree is used for analysis. This phenomenon-dubbed "hemiplasy"-is particularly important to consider during analyses of character evolution in rapidly radiating groups, where discordance is widespread. Here, we generate whole-transcriptome data for a phylogenetic analysis of 14 species in the plant genus Jaltomata (the sister clade to Solanum), which has experienced rapid, recent trait evolution, including in fruit and nectar colour, and flower size and shape. Consistent with other radiations, we find evidence for rampant gene tree discordance due to incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and to introgression events among the well-supported subclades. As both ILS and introgression increase the probability of hemiplasy, we perform several analyses that take discordance into account while identifying genes that might contribute to phenotypic evolution. Despite discordance, the history of fruit colour evolution in Jalt...Continue Reading


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