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Data from: Polyphyly of Arundinoideae (Poaceae) and evolution of the twisted geniculate lemma awn

Cite this dataset

Teisher, Jordan K.; McKain, Michael R.; Schaal, Barbara A.; Kellogg, Elizabeth A. (2018). Data from: Polyphyly of Arundinoideae (Poaceae) and evolution of the twisted geniculate lemma awn [Dataset]. Dryad.


Background and Aims: Subfamily Arundinoideae represents one of the last unsolved taxonomic mysteries in the grass family (Poaceae) due to the narrow and remote distributions of many of its 19 morphologically and ecologically heterogeneous genera. Resolving the phylogenetic relationships of these genera could have substantial implications for understanding character evolution in the grasses, for example the twisted geniculate awn – a hygroscopic awn that has been shown to be important in seed germination for some grass species. In this study, the phylogenetic positions of most arundinoid genera were determined using DNA from herbarium specimens, and their placement affects interpretation of this ecologically important trait. Methods: A phylogenetic analysis was conducted on a matrix of full-plastome sequences from 123 species in 107 genera representing all grass subfamilies, with 15 of the 19 genera in subfamily Arundinoideae. Parsimony and maximum likelihood mapping approaches were used to estimate ancestral states for presence of a geniculate lemma awn with a twisted column across Poaceae. Lastly, anatomical characters were examined for former arundinoid taxa using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Key Results: Four genera traditionally included in Arundinoideae fell outside the subfamily in the plastome phylogeny, with the remaining 11 genera forming Arundinoideae sensu stricto. The twisted geniculate awn has originated independently at least five times in the PACMAD grasses, in the subfamilies Panicoideae, Danthonioideae/Chloridoideae and Arundinoideae. Morphological and anatomical characters support the new positions of the misplaced arundinoid genera in the phylogeny, but also highlight convergent and parallel evolution in the grasses. Conclusions: In placing the majority of arundinoid genera in a phylogenetic framework, our study answers one of the last remaining big questions in grass taxonomy while highlighting examples of convergent evolution in an ecologically important trait, the hygroscopic, twisted geniculate awn.

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National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1457748