Phylogenomics, biogeography, and evolution in the American palm genus Brahea

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Craig BarrettDonald Hodel

Abstract

Slow rates of molecular evolution at low taxonomic levels hamper studies of relationships among species, and subsequent biogeographic and evolutionary analyses. An example is the genus Brahea, which is among the most poorly understood lineages of American palms and is characterized by a wide variety of growth forms and intermediate morphological features. We generated approximately 400 kb of genome-scale data from all three genomes for the 11 currently described species of Brahea to infer phylogenetic relationships, reconstruct ancestral growth form, estimate ancestral geographic ranges, and test for niche equivalency among closely related species with geographic overlap. Relationships receive strong support, and conform to previous subgeneric assignments, except for placement of the dwarf species B. moorei within subgenus Erythea. Our robust phylogenetic hypothesis reveals trends in growth form including an overall increase in height in the B. armata clade, and independent evolution of dwarf forms from taller ancestors in the B. pimo and B. dulcis clades. Ancestral range estimation reveals roles of dispersal (e.g. B. edulis on Guadalupe Island) and sympatric speciation in some cases (e.g. in the B. armata clade), but is equivo...Continue Reading

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