J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2021, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (7): 1273-1293.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13078

• Functional Omics and Systems Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Phylotranscriptomic insights into Asteraceae diversity, polyploidy, and morphological innovation

Caifei Zhang1†, Chien‐Hsun Huang1,2†, Mian Liu1, Yi Hu2, Jose L. Panero3, Federico Luebert4,5, Tiangang Gao6 and Hong Ma2*   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering and Collaborative Innovation Center of Genetics and Development, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Biodiversity Sciences and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Sciences, Institute of Plant Biology, Center for Evolutionary Biology, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
    2 Department of Biology, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennslyvania 16802, USA
    3 Department of Integrative Biology, The University of Texas, University Station C0930, AustinTexas 78712, USA
    4 Institut für Bodiversität der Pflanzen, Universität Bonn, Bonn D – 53115, Germany
    5 Department of Silviculture and Nature Conservation, University of Chile, Santiago 9206, Chile
    6 State Key Laboratory of Evolutionary and Systematic Botany, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: Hong Ma (hxm16@psu.edu)
  • Received:2020-08-21 Accepted:2021-02-08 Online:2021-02-09 Published:2021-07-01

Abstract: Biodiversity is not evenly distributed among related groups, raising questions about the factors contributing to such disparities. The sunflower family (Asteraceae, >26,000 species) is among the largest and most diverse plant families, but its species diversity is concentrated in a few subfamilies, providing an opportunity to study the factors affecting biodiversity. Phylotranscriptomic analyses here of 244 transcriptomes and genomes produced a phylogeny with strong support for the monophyly of Asteraceae and the monophyly of most subfamilies and tribes. This phylogeny provides a reference for detecting changes in diversification rates and possible factors affecting Asteraceae diversity, which include global climate shifts, whole-genome duplications (WGDs), and morphological evolution. The origin of Asteraceae was estimated at ~83 Mya, with most subfamilies having diverged before the Cretaceous–Paleocene boundary. Phylotranscriptomic analyses supported the existence of 41 WGDs in Asteraceae. Changes to herbaceousness and capitulescence with multiple flower-like capitula, often with distinct florets and scaly pappus/receptacular bracts, are associated with multiple upshifts in diversification rate. WGDs might have contributed to the survival of early Asteraceae by providing new genetic materials to support morphological transitions. The resulting competitive advantage for adapting to different niches would have increased biodiversity in Asteraceae.

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