Molecular Biology and Evolution
Several plant lineages have evolved adaptations that allow survival in extreme and harsh environments including many families within the plant clade Portulacineae (Caryophyllales) such as the Cactaceae, Didiereaceae, and Montiaceae. Here, using newly generated transcriptomic data, we reconstructed the phylogeny of Portulacineae and examined potential correlates between molecular evolution and adaptation to harsh environments. Our phylogenetic results were largely congruent with previous analyses, but we identified several early diverging nodes characterized by extensive gene tree conflict. For particularly contentious nodes, we present detailed information about the phylogenetic signal for alternative relationships. We also analyzed the frequency of gene duplications, confirmed previously identified whole genome duplications (WGD), and proposed a previously unidentified WGD event within the Didiereaceae. We found that the WGD events were typically associated with shifts in climatic niche but did not find a direct association with WGDs and diversification rate shifts. Diversification shifts occurred within the Portulacaceae, Cactaceae, and Anacampserotaceae, and whereas these did not experience WGDs, the Cactaceae experienced extensive gene duplications. We examined gene family expansion and molecular evolutionary patterns with a focus on genes associated with environmental stress responses and found evidence for significant gene family expansion in genes with stress adaptation and clades found in extreme environments. These results provide important directions for further and deeper examination of the potential links between molecular evolutionary patterns and adaptation to harsh environments.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Moore, M. J.,
Brockington, S. F.,
Walker, J. F.,
Brown, J. W.,
Olivieri, J. E.,
Majure, L. C.,
Smith, S. A.
Evolution of Portulacineae Marked by Gene Tree Conflict and Gene Family Expansion Associated with Adaptation to Harsh Environments.
Molecular Biology and Evolution, 36(1), 112–126.