The first mistletoes: Origins of aerial parasitism in Santalales

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Date: May 2008
From: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution(Vol. 47, Issue 2)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report
Length: 245 words

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Abstract :

To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: Byline: Romina Vidal-Russell, Daniel L. Nickrent Keywords: Misodendraceae; Loranthaceae; Santalaceae; Viscaceae; Eremolepidaceae; Phylogeny; Bayesian relaxed molecular clock Abstract: Past molecular phylogenetic work has shown that aerial parasites have evolved five times independently in the sandalwood order (Santalales), but the absolute timing of these diversifications was not addressed. DNA sequences from nuclear SSU and LSU rDNA, and chloroplast rbcL, matK and trnL-F from 39 santalalean taxa were obtained. Separate and combined data partitions were analyzed with maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. Time estimates were performed with Bayesian relaxed molecular clock and penalized likelihood methods using published fossil data. Both methods gave comparable divergence dates for the major clades. These data confirm five origins of aerial parasitism, first in Misodendraceae ca. 80Mya and subsequently in Viscaceae (72Mya), "Eremolepidaceae" (53Mya), tribe Amphorogyneae in Santalaceae (46Mya), and Loranthaceae (28Mya). The rapid adaptive radiation and speciation in Loranthaceae coincides with the appearance of savanna biomes during the Oligocene. In all clades except Misodendraceae, it appears that aerial parasites evolved from ancestors that were polymorphic for either root or stem parasitism -- a condition here termed amphiphagous. Convergences in morphological features associated with the mistletoe habit have occurred such as the squamate habit, seed attachment structures, unisexual flowers, and loss of chlorophyll. Author Affiliation: Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6509, USA Article History: Received 16 April 2007; Revised 11 October 2007; Accepted 17 January 2008

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A178331772