DOI: 10.3390/plants12173083 ISSN:

African Mountain Thistles: Three New Genera in the Carduus-Cirsium Group

Lucía D. Moreyra, Núria Garcia-Jacas, Cristina Roquet, Jennifer R. Ackerfield, Turan Arabacı, Carme Blanco-Gavaldà, Christian Brochmann, Juan Antonio Calleja, Tuncay Dirmenci, Kazumi Fujikawa, Mercè Galbany-Casals, Tiangang Gao, Abel Gizaw, Javier López-Alvarado, Iraj Mehregan, Roser Vilatersana, Bayram Yıldız, Frederik Leliaert, Alexey P. Seregin, Alfonso Susanna
  • Plant Science
  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

The floras on the highest mountains in tropical eastern Africa are among the most unique floras in the world. Despite the exceptionally high concentration of endemic species, these floras remain understudied from an evolutionary point of view. In this study, we focus on the Carduus-Cirsium group (subtribe Carduinae) to unravel the evolutionary relationships of the species endemic to the tropical Afromontane and Afroalpine floras, aiming to improve the systematics of the group. We applied the Hyb-Seq approach using the Compositae1061 probe set on 190 samples (159 species), encompassing representatives of all genera of Carduinae. We used two recently developed pipelines that enabled the processing of raw sequence reads, identification of paralogous sequences and segregation into orthologous alignments. After the implementation of a missing data filter, we retained sequences from 986 nuclear loci and 177 plastid regions. Phylogenomic analyses were conducted using both concatenated and summary-coalescence methods. The resulting phylogenies were highly resolved and revealed three distinct evolutionary lineages consisting of the African species traditionally referred to as Carduus and Cirsium. Consequently, we propose the three new genera Afrocarduus, Afrocirsium and Nuriaea; the latter did notably not belong to the Carduus-Cirsium group. We detected some incongruences between the phylogenies based on concatenation vs. coalescence and on nuclear vs. plastid datasets, likely attributable to incomplete lineage sorting and/or hybridization.

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