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Akopian J.,Armenian National Academy of Sciences | Sarukhanyan N.,Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO | Gabrielyan I.,Armenian National Academy of Sciences | Vanyan A.,Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO | And 7 more authors.
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

Vavilovia (Vavilovia Fed.) is one of the five genera in tribe Fabeae and consists of only one species, 'beautiful' vavilovia (Vavilovia formosa (Stev.) Fed.). The main centre of distribution is the Central and Eastern Caucasus, with a disjunct distribution among high alpine areas in the region, extending as far as West Turkey, Lebanon and Iran. In Armenia, in situ studies on Vavilovia started in the late 1930s. In July and August 2009, three expeditions were conducted to two locations: two to the Ughtasar Mountain and one to the Geghama Mountains. The first expedition to Ughtasar resulted in fresh plant collections and soil analysis for one of the sites. The expedition to Geghama established the existence of Vavilovia in the region of Lake Aknalitch. The second expedition to Ughtasar provided immature fruits and seeds. Collected plant material was transplanted into the Flora and Vegetation of Armenia plot of the Yerevan Botanic Garden established in 1940. Today, along with other plants the plot contains more than 200 species of wild relatives of cultural plants from 130 genera, including indiginous species of tribe Fabeae such as Vavilovia. The transplanted plants will continue to be monitored to see if the plants go on to successfully flower and set seed or whether further sites, possibly at higher altitudes might need to be tested to meet the long term conservation requirements of this iconic legume. These co-ordinated efforts provide a good example of an ex situ conservation strategy for Vavilovia formosa, which, if successful will improve access and utility for the whole legume research community. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Bartish I.V.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Antonelli A.,University of Zurich | Richardson J.E.,Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh | Richardson J.E.,University of Los Andes, Colombia | Swenson U.,Swedish Museum of Natural History
Journal of Biogeography

Aim- Continental disjunctions in pantropical taxa have been explained by vicariance or long-distance dispersal. The relative importance of these explanations in shaping current distributions may vary, depending on historical backgrounds or biological characteristics of particular taxa. We aimed to determine the geographical origin of the pantropical subfamily Chrysophylloideae (Sapotaceae) and the roles vicariance and dispersal have played in shaping its modern distribution.Location- Tropical areas of Africa, Australasia and South America.Methods- We utilized a recently published, comprehensive data set including 66 species and nine molecular markers. Bayesian phylogenetic trees were generated and dated using five fossils and the penalized likelihood approach. Distributional ranges of nodes were estimated using maximum likelihood and parsimony analyses. In both biogeographical and molecular dating analyses, phylogenetic and branch length uncertainty was taken into account by averaging the results over 2000 trees extracted from the Bayesian stationary sample.Results- Our results indicate that the earliest diversification of Chrysophylloideae was in the Campanian of Africa c.-73-83-Ma. A narrow time interval for colonization from Africa to the Neotropics (one to three dispersals) and Australasia (a single migration) indicates a relatively rapid radiation of this subfamily in the latest Cretaceous to the earliest Palaeocene (c.-62-72-Ma). A single dispersal event from the Neotropics back to Africa during the Neogene was inferred. Long-distance dispersal between Australia and New Caledonia occurred at least four times, and between Africa and Madagascar on multiple occasions.Main conclusions- Long-distance dispersal has been the dominant mechanism for range expansion in the subfamily Chrysophylloideae. Vicariance could explain South American-Australian disjunction via Antarctica, but not the exchanges between Africa and South America and between New Caledonia and Australia, or the presence of the subfamily in Madagascar. We find low support for the hypothesis that the North Atlantic land bridge facilitated range expansions at the Palaeocene/Eocene boundary. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Xiao L.-Q.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden | Xiao L.-Q.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Moller M.,Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh | Zhu H.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

Molecular studies of six species from the ancient extant seed plant Cycas, covering a wide range of its morphological diversity and all major areas of distribution, revealed a high level of intra-individual polymorphism of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1, 5.8S, and ITS2) region, indicative of incomplete nrDNA concerted evolution. Through a range of comparisons of sequence characteristics to functional cDNA ITS copies, including sequence length and substitution variation, GC content, secondary structure stability, the presence of a conserved motif in the 5.8S gene, and evolutionary rates, the PCR amplified divergent genomic DNA ITS paralogs were identified as either putative pseudogenes, recombinants or functional paralogs. This incomplete ITS concerted evolution may be linked to the high number of nucleolar organizer regions in the Cycas genome, and the incomplete lineage sorting due to recent species divergence in the genus. Based on the distribution of a 14 bp deletion, an early evolutionary origin of the pseudogenes is indicated, possibly predating the diversification of Cycas. Due to their early origin combined with the unconstraint evolution of the ITS region in pseudogenes, they accumulate high levels of homoplastic mutations. This leads to random relationships among the pseudogenes due to long-branch attractions, whereas the phylogenetic relationships inferred from the functional ITS paralogs grouped the sequences in species specific clades (except for C. circinalis and C. rumphii). The findings of our extensive study will have a wide significance, for the evolution of these molecular sequences, and their utilization as a major marker for reconstructing phylogenies. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. Source

Laenen B.,University of Liege | Laenen B.,University of Zurich | Shaw B.,Duke University | Schneider H.,Natural History Museum in London | And 20 more authors.
Nature Communications

Unraveling the macroevolutionary history of bryophytes, which arose soon after the origin of land plants but exhibit substantially lower species richness than the more recently derived angiosperms, has been challenged by the scarce fossil record. Here we demonstrate that overall estimates of net species diversification are approximately half those reported in ferns and ∼30% those described for angiosperms. Nevertheless, statistical rate analyses on time-calibrated large-scale phylogenies reveal that mosses and liverworts underwent bursts of diversification since the mid-Mesozoic. The diversification rates further increase in specific lineages towards the Cenozoic to reach, in the most recently derived lineages, values that are comparable to those reported in angiosperms. This suggests that low diversification rates do not fully account for current patterns of bryophyte species richness, and we hypothesize that, as in gymnosperms, the low extant bryophyte species richness also results from massive extinctions. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Mikic A.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | Smykal P.,Palacky University | Kenicer G.,Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh | Vishnyakova M.,Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences | And 18 more authors.

Main conclusion: Vavilovia formosa(Stev.) Fed. is a scientifically valuable common ancestor of the plant tribe Fabeae and also important in breeding and agronomy studies of the cultivated Fabeae, but it is close to extinction. A concerted academic and geovernmental effort is needed to save it.Abstract: Since 2007, an informal international group of researchers on legumes has been working to increase awareness of Vavilovia formosa (Stev.) Fed., a relict and endangered wild-land relative to crop plant species. A majority of the modern botanical classifications place it within the tribe Fabeae, together with the genera vetchling (Lathyrus L.), lentil (Lens Mill.), pea (Pisum L.) and vetch (Vicia L.). V. formosa is encountered at altitudes from 1,500 m up to 3,500 m in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Russia, Syria and Turkey. This species may be of extraordinary importance for broadening current scientific knowledge on legume evolution and taxonomy because of its proximity to the hypothetical common ancestor of the tribe Fabeae, as well as for breeding and agronomy of the cultivated Fabeae species due to its perenniality and stress resistance. All this may be feasible only if a concerted and long-term conservation strategy is established and carried out by both academic and geovernmental authorities. The existing populations of V. formosa are in serious danger of extinction. The main threats are domestic and wild animal grazing, foraging, and early frosts in late summer. A long-term strategy to save V. formosa from extinction and to sustain its use in both basic and applied research comprises much improved in situ preservation, greater efforts for an ex situ conservation, and novel approaches of in vitro propagation. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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