On the origin of bellflowers

The bellflowers (Campanulaceae) are a diverse family of flowering plants encompassing more than 2,300 species across five major lineages. In this study, researchers use genetic sequence data and GBIF-mediated occurrences to provide new insights into the phylogeny and biogeography of Campanulaceae.

Data resources used via GBIF : 100,000
Lobelia ionantha

Lobelia ionantha by chrismorse via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The bellflowers (Campanulaceae) are a diverse family of flowering plants encompassing more than 2,300 species across five major lineages. In this study, researchers use genetic sequence data and GBIF-mediated occurrences to provide new insights into the phylogeny and biogeography of Campanulaceae. Their analysis confirms the traditionally recognized five subfamilies of the group, and provide evidence suggesting an African origin of the entire family diverging from a common ancestor about 76 million years ago. Based on genetic studies, the authors present a hypothesis of a diploid ancestor with nine chromosome pairs. Genome duplication events leading to an increase in copies of chromosomes at the bases of clades facilitated specialization of species including the evolution of woodiness. The study is the largest to date on the Campanulaceae family.

Citations

Crowl AA, Miles NW, Visger CJ, Hansen K, Ayers T, Haberle R and Cellinese N (2016) A global perspective on Campanulaceae: Biogeographic, genomic, and floral evolution. American Journal of Botany. Botanical Society of America, 233–245. Available at doi:10.3732/ajb.1500450.

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