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The First Comprehensive Phylogeny of Coptis (Ranunculaceae) and Its Implications for Character Evolution and Classification

Abstract : Coptis (Ranunculaceae) contains 15 species and is one of the pharmaceutically most important plant genera in eastern Asia. Understanding of the evolution of morphological characters and phylogenetic relationships within the genus is very limited. Here, we present the first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on two plastid and one nuclear markers. The phylogeny was reconstructed using Bayesian inference, as well as maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. The Swofford-Olsen-Waddell-Hillis and Bayesian tests were used to assess the strength of the conflicts between traditional tax-onomic units and those suggested by the phylogenetic inferences. Evolution of morphological characters was inferred using Bayesian method to identify synapomorphies for the infrageneric lineages. Our data recognize two strongly supported clades within Coptis. The first clade contains subgenus Coptis and section Japonocoptis of subgenus Metacoptis, supported by morphological characters, such as traits of the central leaflet base, petal color, and petal shape. The second clade consists of section Japonocoptis of subgenus Meta-coptis. Coptis morii is not united with C. quinquefolia, in contrast with the view that C. morii is a synonym of C. quinquefolia. Two varieties of C. chinensis do not cluster together. Coptis groenlandica and C. lutescens are reduced to C. trifolia and C. japonica, respectively. Central leaflet base, sepal shape, and petal blade carry a strong phylogenetic signal in Coptis, while leaf type, sepal and petal color, and petal shape exhibit relatively higher levels of evolutionary flexibility.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 10:30:42 AM
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Kun-Li Xiang, Sheng-Dan Wu, Sheng-Xian Yu, Yang Liu, Florian Jabbour, et al.. The First Comprehensive Phylogeny of Coptis (Ranunculaceae) and Its Implications for Character Evolution and Classification. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2016, 11 (4), pp.e0153127. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0153127⟩. ⟨hal-01310776⟩



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