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Data from: Accounting for uncertainty in the evolutionary timescale of green plants through clock-partitioning and fossil calibration strategies

Citation

Nie, Yuan et al. (2019), Data from: Accounting for uncertainty in the evolutionary timescale of green plants through clock-partitioning and fossil calibration strategies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n2r370n

Abstract

Establishing an accurate evolutionary timescale for green plants (Viridiplantae) is essential to understanding their interaction and coevolution with the Earth’s climate and the many organisms that rely on green plants. Despite being the focus of numerous studies, the timing of the origin of green plants and the divergence of major clades within this group remain highly controversial. Here, we infer the evolutionary timescale of green plants by analysing 81 protein-coding genes from 99 chloroplast genomes, using a core set of 21 fossil calibrations. We test the sensitivity of our divergence-time estimates to various components of Bayesian molecular dating, including the tree topology, clock models, clock-partitioning schemes, rate priors, and fossil calibrations. We find that the choice of clock model affects date estimation and that the independent-rates model provides a better fit to the data than the autocorrelated-rates model. Varying the rate prior and tree topology had little impact on age estimates, with far greater differences observed among calibration choices and clock-partitioning schemes. Our analyses yield date estimates ranging from the Paleoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic for crown-group green plants, and from the Ediacaran to Middle Ordovician for crown-group land plants. We present divergence-time estimates of the major groups of green plants that take into account various sources of uncertainty. Our proposed timeline lays the foundation for further investigations into how green plants shaped the global climate and ecosystems, and how embryophytes became dominant in terrestrial environments.

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