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The diversification of the northern temperate woody flora – A case study of the Elm family (Ulmaceae) based on phylogenomic and paleobotanical evidence

First Author: Zhang QY
Abstract: Ulmaceae is a woody family widespread in northern temperate forests. Despite the ecological importance of this family, its phylogeny and biogeographic history are poorly understood. In this study, we reconstruct phylogenetic relationships within the family and infer spatio-temporal diversification patterns based on chloroplast genome (complete cpDNA) and nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences (nrDNA). The seven Ulmaceae genera are resolved in two main clades (temperate vs. tropical) by both cpDNA and nrDNA sequences. The temperate clade includes four genera, Hemiptelea, Zelkova, Planera, and Ulmus. The relationships among Planera and other genera are controversial because of inconsistent topologies between plastid and nuclear data. The tropical clade includes three genera ((Ampelocera, Phyllostylon), Holoptelea). Molecular dating and diversification analyses show that Ulmaceae originated in the Early Cretaceous (ca. 110–125?Ma) with the main lineages establishing from the Late Cretaceous to the early Eocene. The diversification rate slowed during the middle to the late Paleogene (ca. 23–45?Ma), followed by a rapid diversification of the East Asian temperate group in the Neogene, congruent with a global cooling event. The ancestral state optimization analysis suggests an East Asian origin of the temperate Ulmaceae clade during the Paleocene, which is consistent with the fossil record. Both phylogenomic and fossil evidence support East Asia as a center of origin and diversification for the temperate woody lineages.
Contact the author: Xing YW
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PubYear: 2021
Volume: online
Publication Name: Journal of Systematics and Evolution
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