David L Field
School of Science
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research council
SynTax award scheme
Scottish Government's Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services Division
National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico
Parallel evolution of similar morphologies in closely related lineages provides insight into the repeatability and predictability of evolution. In the genus Antirrhinum (snapdragons), as in other plants, a suite of morphological characters are associated with adaptation to alpine environments.
We tested for parallel trait evolution in Antirrhinum by investigating phylogenetic relationships using restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing. We then associated phenotypic information to our phylogeny to reconstruct the patterns of morphological evolution and related this to evidence for hybridisation between emergent lineages.
Phylogenetic analyses showed that the alpine character syndrome is present in multiple groups, suggesting that Antirrhinum has repeatedly colonised alpine habitats. Dispersal to novel environments happened in the presence of intraspecific and interspecific gene flow.
We found support for a model of parallel evolution in Antirrhinum. Hybridisation in natural populations, and a complex genetic architecture underlying the alpine morphology syndrome, support an important role of natural selection in maintaining species divergence in the face of gene flow.
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