[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Campanula pyramidalis complex is a group of closely related taxa with a distribution across the Balkans, from the Gulf of Trieste in the north to the Peloponnese Peninsula in the south, with small disjunct parts of the range in the south Apennines. Although 21 taxa were described within this complex, only three, C. pyramidalis, C. versicolor, and C. secundiflora, have been generally accepted in recent synoptical taxonomic treatments. Our molecular phylogenetic analyses based on sequences of three non-coding chloroplast regions (psbA-trnH, psbZ-trnfM, trnG-trnS) as well as of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers (nrITS), lend strong support to the recognition of several lineages which only partially correspond to generally accepted taxonomic concepts. Molecular data presented in this study showed that C. pyramidalis is a polyphyletic assemblage that segregates into three distinct lineages, one of which is described here as a new species, C. austroadriatica sp. nov. The lectotype of C. pyramidalis, redefined in a strict sense, is designated. Neither C. versicolor nor C. secundiflora were found to be strictly monophyletic, but their monophyly could not be rejected. Morphological and biogeographical implications are discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have demonstrated geographical parthenogenesis in Crataegus series Douglasianae, an agamic complex comprising exclusively tetraploid Crataegus douglasii sensu lato and the morphologically distinct Crataegus suksdorfii complex that comprises diploids and polyploids. Here we characterize ploidy level and breeding system by detailed flow cytometric measurements of the 2C nuclear DNA content of leaf, embryo, and endosperm tissues from 282 black-fruited hawthorns (Crataegus series Douglasianae) representing 33 localities in the Pacific Northwest, one in the Cypress Hills, and three more in the upper Great Lakes basin. We use existing climate and molecular data to place our flow cytometry results in an environmental and evolutionary context. Crataegus douglasii occupies more widely distributed sites that experience more extreme temperature and moisture regimes than do the sites occupied by diploid C. suksdorfii.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlike parasitic plants, which are linked to their hosts directly through haustoria, mycoheterotrophic (MHT) plants derive all or part of their water and nutrients from autothrophs via fungal mycorrhizal intermediaries. Ericaceae, the heather family, are a large and diverse group of plants known to form elaborate symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi. Using PHYA sequence data, we first investigated relationships among mycoheterotrophic Ericaceae and their close autotrophic relatives. Phylogenetic results suggest a minimum of two independent origins of MHT within this family. Additionally, a comparative investigation of plastid genomes (plastomes) grounded within this phylogenetic framework was conducted using a slot-blot Southern hybridization approach. This survey encompassed numerous lineages of Ericaceae with different life histories and trophic levels, including multiple representatives from mixotrophic Pyroleae and fully heterotrophic Monotropeae and Pterosporeae. Fifty-four probes derived from all categories of protein coding genes typically found within the plastomes of flowering plants were used. Our results indicate that the holo-mycoheterotrophic Ericaceae exhibit extensive loss of genes relating to photosynthetic function and expression of the plastome but retain genes with possible functions outside photosynthesis. Mixotrophic taxa tend to retain most genes relating to photosynthetic functions but are varied regarding the plastid ndh gene content. This investigation extends previous inferences that the loss of the NDH complex occurs prior to becoming holo-heterotrophic and it shows that the pattern of gene losses among mycoheterotrophic Ericaceae is similar to that of haustorial parasites. Additionally, we identify the most desirable candidate species for entire plastome sequencing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cuscuta chapalana complex (Convolvulaceae) is a recently circumscribed clade within the subgenus Grammica that includes several little-known species from Mexico and Central and northern South America characterized by the presence of peculiar subapical multicelullar appendages on the corolla and often on the calyx lobes. Basic morphology, scanning electron microscopy, and DNA sequence data from the plastid trnL–F region and the 26S rDNA and internal transcribed spacer nuclear regions were used to investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the group and to test the species limits. Multicellular appendages are horn-like or tubular in shape and bear one or more stomata at their tips; hence the vernacular name “horned” dodders. Eight lineages were reconstructed; two of them, both from Mexico, were described as new species: Cuscuta bonafortunae Costea & I. García, sp. nov., and Cuscuta carnosa Costea & Stefanović, sp. nov. Cuscuta pringlei is redefined as a variety of Cuscuta strobilacea. A taxonomic treatment with an identification key, descriptions, and illustrations is provided.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyploidy plays a prominent role in the speciation process in plants. Many species are known to be part of agamic complexes comprising sexual diploids and more or less exclusively asexual polyploids. However, polyploid formation has been studied in very few cases, primarily because of the challenges in examining these cases phylogenetically. In this study, we demonstrate the use of a variety of phylogenetic approaches to unravel origins and infer reticulation history in a diploid-polyploid complex of black-fruited Crataegus. The tree approaches are shown to be useful in testing alternative hypotheses and in revealing genealogies of nuclear genes, particularly in polyploid organisms that may contain multiple copies. Compared to trees, network approaches provide a better indication of reticulate relationships among recently diverged taxa. Taken together, our data point to both the autopolyploid and allopolyploid origins of triploids in natural populations of Crataegus suksdorfii, whereas tetraploids are formed via a triploid bridge, involving the backcross of allotriploid offspring with their diploid C. suksdorfii parent, followed by gene introgression from sympatric C. douglasii. Our findings provide empirical evidence for different pathways of polyploid formation that are all likely to occur within natural populations and the allopatric establishment of neopolyploids subsequent to their formation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cuscuta umbellata complex is one of the 15 major clades recently circumscribed in C. subg.Grammica. Most of its members occur in North America and the Caribbean (C. desmouliniana, C. lacerata, C. leptantha, C. liliputana, C. odontolepis, C. polyanthemos, C. tuberculata, C. umbellata), but three species (C. acuta, C. membranacea, C. umbellata) grow in South America, and one (C. hyalina) is found as a native species in India, Pakistan and Eastern to South Africa. Basic morphology, scanning electron microscopy and sequence data from the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and the plastid trnL-F region were used to reconstruct the phylogeny, gain a better understanding of the evolutionary history, and determine species boundaries. Our results show that in its currently accepted delimitation C. umbellata is polyphyletic. Discordances between phylogenies derived from plastid and nuclear data strongly suggest that at least four independent hybridization events have occurred in the evolution of this species group, rendering relationships among its members more complex than previously thought. One of these reticulation events involves C. umbellata var. reflexa, a taxon that has been considered synonymous to C. umbellata var. umbellata in the last decades. This hybrid is morphologically intermediate but distinct from its putative parents, C. odontolepis or C. acuta on the maternal side, and C. umbellata (var. umbellata) on the paternal side, which supports its treatment as a new species, C. legitima. Cuscuta umbellata is further redefined to exclude C. umbellata var. dubia, which is merged into C. desmouliniana. A new classification is provided, together with an identification key, descriptions, illustrations, and geographical distributions for the twelve species of the clade.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is relatively common in plant mitochondrial genomes but the mechanisms, extent and consequences of transfer remain largely unknown. Previous results indicate that parasitic plants are often involved as either transfer donors or recipients, suggesting that direct contact between parasite and host facilitates genetic transfer among plants.
In order to uncover the mechanistic details of plant-to-plant HGT, the extent and evolutionary fate of transfer was investigated between two groups: the parasitic genus Cuscuta and a small clade of Plantago species. A broad polymerase chain reaction (PCR) survey of mitochondrial genes revealed that at least three genes (atp1, atp6 and matR) were recently transferred from Cuscuta to Plantago. Quantitative PCR assays show that these three genes have a mitochondrial location in the one species line of Plantago examined. Patterns of sequence evolution suggest that these foreign genes degraded into pseudogenes shortly after transfer and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR analyses demonstrate that none are detectably transcribed. Three cases of gene conversion were detected between native and foreign copies of the atp1 gene. The identical phylogenetic distribution of the three foreign genes within Plantago and the retention of cytidines at ancestral positions of RNA editing indicate that these genes were probably acquired via a single, DNA-mediated transfer event. However, samplings of multiple individuals from two of the three species in the recipient Plantago clade revealed complex and perplexing phylogenetic discrepancies and patterns of sequence divergence for all three of the foreign genes.
This study reports the best evidence to date that multiple mitochondrial genes can be transferred via a single HGT event and that transfer occurred via a strictly DNA-level intermediate. The discovery of gene conversion between co-resident foreign and native mitochondrial copies suggests that transferred genes may be evolutionarily important in generating mitochondrial genetic diversity. Finally, the complex relationships within each lineage of transferred genes imply a surprisingly complicated history of these genes in Plantago subsequent to their acquisition via HGT and this history probably involves some combination of additional transfers (including intracellular transfer), gene duplication, differential loss and mutation-rate variation. Unravelling this history will probably require sequencing multiple mitochondrial and nuclear genomes from Plantago. See Commentary: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/147.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The salt marsh dodders, Cuscuta salina, have been historically delimited as a morphologically variable assemblage of inbreeding forms that parasitize hosts growing in alkaline or saline habitats from western North America. This morphological diversity has been traditionally classified into three varieties: salina, major, and papillata. A morphometric analysis of floral characters and a molecular study using both plastid and nuclear DNA sequences strongly support the segregation of a new species, Cuscuta pacifica Costea and M. A. R. Wright, from C. salina. The new species corresponds to a lineage that includes varieties major and papillata, whereas C. salina is limited essentially to its type variety. Cuscuta pacifica and C. salina are sister species that have only a small area of parapatry in lower California, where they are ecologically and reproductively separated. Cuscuta salina occurs mostly in inland vernal pools and salt flats of Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Baja California, and Sonora, and grows primarily on Frankenia andb Suaeda. Cuscuta pacifica can be found in salt marshes from the south-central Pacific coast of California north into British Columbia, parasitic especially on Salicornia and Jaumea carnosa. Cuscuta salina var. papillata (Yunck.) Costea and M. A. R. Wright, parasitic on hosts that grow in coastal interdunes, falls within the range of variation of C. pacifica, where it is transferred.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple DNA sequences from plastid (trnL-F region and rbcL) as well as nuclear (ITS and 26S rDNA) genomes were used to infer the phylogeny of the Cuscuta californica complex. This group is currently circumscribed to include nine species distributed mostly in western North America. Four well-supported lineages have been revealed within this complex. The first lineage includes the controversial C. californica s. l., an assemblage of taxa characterized by their lack of infrastaminal scales; the second lineage consists of a single species, C. subinclusa, with short fimbriate scales. The third lineage groups C. howelliana, C. salina, and C. suksdorfii, with scales that exhibit a reduction trend, while the forth includes C. decipiens and a new species from New Mexico and trans-Pecos Texas, C. draconella, both with well-developed infrastaminal scales. Stereo, compound, and scanning electron microscopy were used to investigate the new species and compare it with C. decipiens, its closest relative, as well as to update the taxonomic treatment of C. californica s. l. Cuscuta decipiens, in its original delimitation, is polyphyletic and was thus recircumscribed. In contrast to previous taxonomic treatments of C. californica s. l., phylogenetic relationships in conjunction with morphological data support the delimitation of three species: C. brachycalyx, C. californica, and C. occidentalis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because recent molecular studies, based on multiple data sets from all three plant genomes, have indicated mutually congruent, well-resolved, and well-supported relationships within Convolvulaceae (the morning-glory family), a formal reclassification of this family is presented here. Convolvulaceae, a large family of worldwide distribution, exhibiting a rich diversity of morphological characteristics and ecological habitats, are now circumscribed within twelve tribes. A key to these tribes of Convolvulaceae is offered. The group of spiny-pollen bearing Convolvulaceae (forming “Echinoconiae”) and tribe Cuscuteae are retained essentially in their traditional sense, Cresseae are circumscribed with only minor modifications, Convolvuleae and Erycibeae are recognized in a restricted sense, while Dichondreae and Maripeae are expanded. Also, to produce a tribal taxonomy that better reflects phylogenetic relationships, the concept of Poraneae is abandoned as artificial, three new tribes are recognized (Aniseieae, Cardiochlamyeae, and Jacquemontieae), and a new tribal status is proposed for the Malagasy endemic Humbertia (Humbertieae). “Merremieae” are tentatively retained even though the monophyly of this tribe is not certain. In addition to the formal classification, we provide clade name definitions for the family as well as for most of the clades recognized presently as tribes. Also, five well-supported clades that are not assigned formal ranks are recognized and their names defined. The reevaluation of traditional taxonomic characters reveals that many homoplasious characters were emphasized in previous classifications, resulting in formal recognition of non-monophyletic groups. Putative morphological synapomorphies for many clades discovered through molecular cladistic analyses are discussed. However, the morphology of several clades that are well-supported by DNA evidence remains poorly understood, creating further challenges for future studies in Convolvulaceae.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Generic level relationships in phaseoloid legumes have received much attention using chloroplast DNA markers. However, despite this attention not all relationships are yet well-resolved. This study includes trnL-F sequences from across a wide sample of phaseoloid legumes as well as seven additional chloroplast DNA loci (rbcL, atpB, trnK/matK, rpl2, clpP, rps16, and ycf4) analyzed separately and in combination. Together, these data provide support for many relationships generally consistent with, but only weakly supported, in earlier studies. Some major discordant phylogenetic results were found in our separate analyses; for example, ycf4 sequences group Glycine and Teramnus with strong support; however, the combined analysis of the remaining seven loci found incongruent groupings (Glycine and Psoraleeae genera; Teramnus and Amphicarpaea) also with strong support. Network analysis of ycf4 revealed that the conflicting signal (relative to the other seven loci) came from first and second codon positions. These positions also showed significant rate acceleration, together indicating that selection driving convergent molecular evolution is the likely cause of the signal in ycf4, rather than shared history. The major clades within the phaseoloid legumes supported by our analysis are discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The frequency and relative importance of hybridization in plants has been an area of intense debate. Although this evolutionary phenomenon has received considerable attention from plant biologists, there are no well-supported cases of reticulate evolution involving parasitic plants, to date. Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that the subgenus Grammica, the largest and most diverse group of the stem-parasitic genus Cuscuta (dodder), consists of 15 major clades. We describe here five cases of strongly supported discordance between phylogenies derived from plastid and nuclear data, and interpret them as results of five independent hybridization events. Three of these cases could represent relatively recent reticulations, as each of them involves more closely related species, always confined within the same major clade as their putative parental species, and are currently sympatric or parapatric with them. The two remaining cases involve species whose potential progenitors are derived from different major groups of Grammica, and which are allopatric in their present distribution. A series of statistical tests was conducted to assess and further explore the significance of this phylogenetic incongruence. Alternative explanations for discordant gene topologies are explored. Cuscuta liliputana sp. nov., a new Mexican species of hybrid origin is described.La fréquence et l'importance relative de l'hybridation chez les plantes soulèvent d'intenses débats. Bien que ce phénomène évolutif ait reçu beaucoup d'attention de la part des phytobiologistes, à ce jour, on ne connaît pas de cas bien établi d'évolution réticulée impliquant des plantes parasites. Des analyses phylogénétiques récentes révèlent que le sous-genre Grammica, le groupe le plus important et le plus diversifié du parasite caulinaire Cuscuta (cuscute), comporte 15 clades principaux. Les auteurs décrivent cinq cas de discordance bien établis entre les phylogénies dérivées de données plastidiques et nucléiques; ils les interprètent comme les résultats de cinq évènements d'hybridation indépendants. Trois de ces cas pourraient représenter des réticulations relativement récentes, puisque chacun d'eux implique des espèces plus étroitement apparentées, toujours confinées au même clade principal que leurs parents, et présentement sympatriques ou parapatriques avec eux. Les deux autres cas impliquent des espèces dont les progéniteurs potentiels dérivent de groupes majeurs distincts du Grammica, et qui sont actuellement allopatriques. Les auteurs ont conduit une série de tests statistiques pour évaluer et explorer la signification de cette inadéquation phylogénétique. Ils explorent des explications alternatives à ces discordances dans la distribution topologique des gènes. Ils décrivent le Cuscuta liliputana sp. nov., une nouvelle espèce mexicaine d'origine hybride.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Balkan Peninsula is known as an ice-age refugium and an area with high rates of speciation and diversification. Only a few genera have their centers of distribution in the Balkans and the endemic genus Edraianthus is one of its most prominent groups. As such, Edraianthus is an excellent model not only for studying speciation processes and genetic diversity but also for testing hypotheses regarding biogeography, identification and characterization of refugia, as well as post-glacial colonization and migration dynamics in SE Europe. The genus comprises 10 to 28 species and was traditionally divided into three sections: E. sect. Edraianthus, E. sect. Uniflori, and E. sect. Spathulati. We present here the first phylogenetic study of Edraianthus based on multiple plastid DNA sequences (trnL-F region and rbcL-atpB spacer) derived from a wide taxonomic sampling and geographic range. While the sister-group to Edraianthus could not be ascertained, the results strongly support its monophyly as currently circumscribed. The phylogentic relationships among Edraianthus and its closely related genera Halacsyella, Petkovia, Muehlbergella, and Protoedraianthus are discussed and their respective taxonomical standings are reevaluated based on molecular evidence. Our study identified several distinct monophyletic groups within Edraianthus, some of which correspond closely to previously established taxonomic treatments and some of which are first identified here. Morphologic, taxonomic, and biogeographic implications of these relationships are also discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genus Edraianthus A.DC. has a center of distribution in the Balkans and it is one of the most prominent groups of endemic plants in this region.
During our recent fieldtrip to Mt. Lovćen (Montenegro), putative hybrid individuals were encountered, morphologically intermediate
between two sympatric taxa, E. tenuifolius (E. sect. Edraianthus) and E. wettsteinii subsp. lovcenicus (E. sect. Uniflori). Multivariate morphometric and molecular analyses were carried out to investigate the occurrence of hybridization between
these two species. As a result, a new nothospecies is described here, Edraianthus×lakusicii V. Stevanović & D. Lakušić, a natural hybrid between E. tenuifolius and E. wettsteinii subsp. lovcenicus. At present, this hybrid is known only from the single locality of Mt. Lovćen. Its population size is estimated to be <50
mature individuals and the estimated “area of occupancy” is smaller than 1km2.
Plant Systematics and Evolution 280(1):77-88. · 1.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cuscuta chinensis species complex is a small clade from subgenus Grammica (Cuscuta, Convolvulaceae). Many species of this clade exhibit crest- or dome-like multicellular appendages with stomata on the midvein/carena of calyx lobes. Basic morphology, scanning electron microscopy, and DNA sequence data from the plastid trnL-F region and the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) were used to investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the group and test the species limits. Based on their morphological and molecular similarly, C. chinensis and C. applanata represent one single species, and the latter was retained as a variety of the former. While the clade is centered in the southern USA and Mexico, C. chinensis var. chinensis has a disjunct distribution in Australia and Asia, which is likely the result of relatively recent long-distance dispersal. Cuscuta alata from Mexico, previously considered synonymous to C. applanata, was found to be a distinct species based on both molecular and morphological evidence. Cuscuta potosina var. potosina and var. globifera segregate into two different subclades of the C. chinensis species complex. Because these two taxa are also different morphologically, var. globifera is described as a new species, C. azteca. Cuscuta campestris, an almost cosmopolitan weed species from another clade (“Clade B”; “C. pentagona complex”), is commonly misidentified in Asia as C. chinensis, which raises questions about the identity of the Cuscuta plants used in widely commercialized medicinal herbal mixtures. A taxonomic treatment with an identification key, descriptions, and illustrations is provided.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pollen morphology of 148 taxa (135 species and 13 varieties) of the parasitic plant genus Cuscuta (dodders, Convolvulaceae) was examined using scanning electron microscopy. Six quantitative characters were coded using the
gap-weighting method and optimized onto a consensus tree constructed from three large-scale molecular phylogenies of the genus
based on nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and plastid trn-LF sequences. The results indicate that 3-zonocolpate pollen is ancestral, while grains with more colpi (up to eight) have
evolved only in two major lineages of Cuscuta (subg. Monogynella and cladeO of subg. Grammica). Complex morphological intergradations occur between species when their tectum is described using the traditional qualitative
types—imperforate, perforate, and microreticulate. This continuous variation is better expressed quantitatively as “percent
perforation,” namely the proportion of perforated area (puncta or lumina) from the total tectum surface. Tectum imperforatum
is likely the ancestral condition, while pollen grains with increasingly larger perforation areas have evolved multiple times.
The reticulated tectum, unknown in other Convolvulaceae, has evolved in Cuscuta only in two lineages (subg. Monogynella, and cladeO of subg. Grammica). Overall, the morphology of pollen supports Cuscuta as a sister to either the “bifid-style” Convolvulaceae clade (Dicranostyloideae) or to one of the members of this clade.
Pollen characters alone are insufficient to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships; however, palynological information is
useful for the species-level taxonomy of Cuscuta.
-Dodders-Evolution-Phylogeny-Pollen morphology-Scanning electron microscopy-Taxonomy
Plant Systematics and Evolution 285(1):83-101. · 1.31 Impact Factor