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Evolution of chromosome numbers in Cuphea (Lythraceae) reveals associations between morphological variation and polyploidy

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Abstract

Studies on the interplay between morphological diversity and genomic duplication are crucial, since novel traits may have profound evolutionary and ecological consequences. Within the Lythraceae, Cuphea stands out as the most karyotypically diverse genus, exhibiting a broad distribution across contrasting ecosystems in the Neotropics such as wetlands, forests, savannas, and prairies, ranging from coastal regions to the central continent, and from sea level to mountainous areas, with a remarkable array of morphological variation in vegetative and reproductive structures. To elucidate the potential relationships between karyotypic diversity and morphological variability in Cuphea, we compiled a morphological database, chromosome numbers and a molecular phylogenetic tree to infer the phylogenetic signal of morphological traits and karyotype evolution in this genus. Our findings confirm the pivotal role of polyploidy in the extensive karyotypic diversification observed in Cuphea. Ancestral state reconstruction revealed that the ancestral chromosomal number for the genus is x = 11 and there is a high incidence of polyploidy in the genus, with at least 11 events of whole-genome duplication, in addition to 20 events of dysploidy (10 ascending and 10 descending). We found evidence to support a positive correlation between chromosome numbers and overall size of selected morphological traits with polyploid species showing longer floral tubes. Our investigations also revealed a potential association between polyploidy and the adaptive radiation of Cuphea during its distribution expansion to the North America. These results reinforce the importance of whole-genome duplication events in producing trait diversity and, consequently, speciation.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Federal University of Mato Grosso, and those who founded our research, including Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico-CNPq and Cordenação de Aperfeçoamento Pessoal de Nivel Superior-CAPES. EMP also acknowledges the productivity grant from CNPq (303556/2022-6).

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LHJF: Conceptualization (equal); Data curation (major); Investigation (major); Methodology (equal); Writing—original draft (major); Writing—review & editing (equal). EMP: Conceptualization (major); Data curation (equal); Investigation (equal); Methodology (equal); Writing—original draft (equal); Writing—review & editing (major); Validation (equal). TBZ: Conceptualization (equal); Data curation (equal); Investigation (equal); Methodology (equal); Writing—original draft (equal); Writing—review & editing (equal); Validation (equal). TC: Conceptualization (equal); Data curation (equal); Investigation (equal); Methodology (equal); Writing—original draft (equal); Writing—review & editing (equal); Validation (equal). SG: Conceptualization (equal); Data curation (equal); Investigation (equal); Methodology (equal); Writing—original draft (equal); Writing—review & editing (equal); Validation (equal).

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Correspondence to Lucas H. J. Feitoza.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary Information

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Information on Electronic Supplementary Material

Online Resource 1. List of species cataloged by the study and their respective data.

Online Resource 2. GenBank accession numbers for the sequences used in the phylogenetic analysis.

Online Resource 3. Reconstruction of ancestral states regarding chromosomal numbers in Cuphea with the reproduction of probabilities in ChromEvol 2.0.

Online Resource 4. Table indicating the distribution of ancestral chromosomal number probabilities for each node in the reconstruction produced by CromEvol 2.0.

Online Appendix 1. Alignment used to produce the phylogeny of nuclear + plastid dataset.

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Feitoza, L.H.J., Zanata, T.B., Cavalcanti, T. et al. Evolution of chromosome numbers in Cuphea (Lythraceae) reveals associations between morphological variation and polyploidy. Plant Syst Evol 310, 19 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-024-01900-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-024-01900-7

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