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Data from: Is asexual reproduction an evolutionary dead-end in lichens?

Cite this dataset

Tripp, Erin A. (2017). Data from: Is asexual reproduction an evolutionary dead-end in lichens? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Classical hypotheses in lichenology predict pairs of species in which sexual lineages are ancestral and long-lived evolutionarily and that these give rise to derived, evolutionarily transient asexual lineages. Extensive phylogenetic information generated over the last 20 years regarding relationships within and among various groups of lichens makes possible an investigation of polarity and lability in reproductive mode across diverse clades. To test the long-held hypothesis of asexual reproduction as an evolutionary dead end in lichens, existing phylogenetic data from 23 studies were utilized to reconstruct gains and losses of sexual and asexual reproduction in a model-based statistical framework. Summed across all studies, between 26–44 origins of asexual reproduction from sexual ancestors (forward transitions) and 14–25 origins of sexual reproduction from asexual ancestors (reverse transitions) were identified. However, the higher number of gains of asexual reproduction was concentrated in a relatively low number of clades (e.g. Dirina). The greater number of forward compared to reverse transitions is consistent with dogma in both lichenology and evolutionary biology, but nonetheless this study documents numerous reverse transitions, suggesting that asexual lineages represent a source for evolutionary innovation.

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