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Citation for Study 20977

About Citation title: "The East Asian origin of the giant lobelias".
About Study name: "The East Asian origin of the giant lobelias".
About This study is part of submission 20977 (Status: Published).


Knox E.B., & Li C. 2017. The East Asian origin of the giant lobelias. American Journal of Botany, 104(6): 924938.


  • Knox E.B. (submitter) Phone 812-855-9601
  • Li C.


PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Rapid radiations are difficult to reconstruct when organismal diversification and biogeographic movement outpace the evolution of genes typically used in phylogenetic analyses. The 125 kb of unique sequence from complete plastid genomes (= plastomes) largely solves the molecular sampling problem, and taxon sampling that triangulates the base of each major subclade largely solves the long-branch attraction problem. This combination of molecular and phylogenetic sampling is used to reconstruct the cosmopolitan radiation of lobeliads, with special focus on the origin of the giant lobelias. METHODS: An alignment of 18 previous generated and 61 new plastomes was analyzed to produce the phylogenetic estimate upon which the biogeographic reconstruction was based. KEY RESULTS: Originating in southern Africa, the Lobeliaceae underwent a spectacular cosmopolitan radiation about 20 million years ago. One lineage colonized Madagascar and eastern Asia, which was the source area for the evolution of the giant lobelias. A second lineage colonized the Mediterranean and North America, in quick succession. South America and Australia were also colonized from South Africa, most likely as independent events, but detailed biogeographic reconstruction is limited by inferred extinction events. The south Pacific segregate genera Apetahia and Sclerotheca are inferred to have Hawaiian ancestry. The East African radiation independently reached Ethiopia, West Africa, and Brazil. CONCLUSIONS: With adequate molecular and taxon sampling, many details of rapid radiations can be accurately inferred. However, not all lineages survived, and analyses of extant species cannot recover details that have been lost due to extinction.


biogeography; Campanulaceae; colonization; Lobelia; Lobeliaceae; long-distance dispersal; plastome

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