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1.  Allotetraploid origin and divergence in Eleusine (Chloridoideae, Poaceae): evidence from low-copy nuclear gene phylogenies and a plastid gene chronogram 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(7):1287-1298.
Background and Aims Eleusine
(Poaceae) is a small genus of the subfamily Chloridoideae exhibiting considerable morphological and ecological diversity in East Africa and the Americas. The interspecific phylogenetic relationships of Eleusine are investigated in order to identify its allotetraploid origin, and a chronogram is estimated to infer temporal relationships between palaeoenvironment changes and divergence of Eleusine in East Africa.
Methods
Two low-copy nuclear (LCN) markers, Pepc4 and EF-1α, were analysed using parsimony, likelihood and Bayesian approaches. A chronogram of Eleusine was inferred from a combined data set of six plastid DNA markers (ndhA intron, ndhF, rps16-trnK, rps16 intron, rps3, and rpl32-trnL) using the Bayesian dating method.
Key Results
The monophyly of Eleusine is strongly supported by sequence data from two LCN markers. In the cpDNA phylogeny, three tetraploid species (E. africana, E. coracana and E. kigeziensis) share a common ancestor with the E. indica–E. tristachya clade, which is considered a source of maternal parents for allotetraploids. Two homoeologous loci are isolated from three tetraploid species in the Pepc4 phylogeny, and the maternal parents receive further support. The A-type EF-1α sequences possess three characters, i.e. a large number of variations of intron 2; clade E-A distantly diverged from clade E-B and other diploid species; and seven deletions in intron 2, implying a possible derivation through a gene duplication event. The crown age of Eleusine and the allotetraploid lineage are 3·89 million years ago (mya) and 1·40 mya, respectively.
Conclusions
The molecular data support independent allotetraploid origins for E. kigeziensis and the E. africana–E. coracana clade. Both events may have involved diploids E. indica and E. tristachya as the maternal parents, but the paternal parents remain unidentified. The habitat-specific hypothesis is proposed to explain the divergence of Eleusine and its allotetraploid lineage.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcr231
PMCID: PMC3197458  PMID: 21880659
Allotetraploid origin; chloroplast markers; East Africa; Eleusine; low-copy nuclear markers; phylogeny; Poaceae
2.  Five Nuclear Loci Resolve the Polyploid History of Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Relatives 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38702.
Polyploidy poses challenges for phylogenetic reconstruction because of the need to identify and distinguish between homoeologous loci. This can be addressed by use of low copy nuclear markers. Panicum s.s. is a genus of about 100 species in the grass tribe Paniceae, subfamily Panicoideae, and is divided into five sections. Many of the species are known to be polyploids. The most well-known of the Panicum polyploids are switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and common or Proso millet (P. miliaceum). Switchgrass is in section Virgata, along with P. tricholaenoides, P. amarum, and P. amarulum, whereas P. miliaceum is in sect. Panicum. We have generated sequence data from five low copy nuclear loci and two chloroplast loci and have clarified the origin of P. virgatum. We find that all members of sects. Virgata and Urvilleana are the result of diversification after a single allopolyploidy event. The closest diploid relatives of switchgrass are in sect. Rudgeana, native to Central and South America. Within sections Virgata and Urvilleana, P. tricholaenoides is sister to the remaining species. Panicum racemosum and P. urvilleanum form a clade, which may be sister to P. chloroleucum. Panicum amarum, P. amarulum, and the lowland and upland ecotypes of P. virgatum together form a clade, within which relationships are complex. Hexaploid and octoploid plants are likely allopolyploids, with P. amarum and P. amarulum sharing genomes with P. virgatum. Octoploid P. virgatum plants are formed via hybridization between disparate tetraploids. We show that polyploidy precedes diversification in a complex set of polyploids; our data thus suggest that polyploidy could provide the raw material for diversification. In addition, we show two rounds of allopolyploidization in the ancestry of switchgrass, and identify additional species that may be part of its broader gene pool. This may be relevant for development of the crop for biofuels.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038702
PMCID: PMC3377691  PMID: 22719924

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