As variations in the chromosome number are recognized to be of evolutionary interest but are also widely debated in the literature, we aimed to quantitatively test for possible relationships among the chromosome number, plant traits, and environmental factors. In particular, the chromosome number and drivers of its variation were examined in 801 Italian endemic vascular plants, for a total of 1364 accessions. We estimated phylogenetic inertia and adaptation in chromosome number - based on an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process - and related chromosome numbers with other plant traits and environmental variables. Phylogenetic effects in chromosome number varied among the examined clades but were generally high. Chromosome numbers were poorly related to large scale climatic conditions, while a stronger relationship with categorical variables was found. Specifically, open, disturbed, drought-prone habitats selected for low chromosome numbers, while perennial herbs, living in shaded, stable environments were associated with high chromosome numbers. Altogether, our findings support an evolutionary role of chromosome number variation, and we argue that environmental stability favours higher recombination rates in comparison to unstable environments. In addition, by comparing the results of models testing for the evolvability of 2n and of x, we provide insight into the presumptive ecological significance of polyploidy.

Unscrambling phylogenetic effects and ecological determinants of chromosome number in major angiosperm clades

Angelino Carta
Primo
;
Gianni Bedini
Secondo
;
Lorenzo Peruzzi
Ultimo
2018

Abstract

As variations in the chromosome number are recognized to be of evolutionary interest but are also widely debated in the literature, we aimed to quantitatively test for possible relationships among the chromosome number, plant traits, and environmental factors. In particular, the chromosome number and drivers of its variation were examined in 801 Italian endemic vascular plants, for a total of 1364 accessions. We estimated phylogenetic inertia and adaptation in chromosome number - based on an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process - and related chromosome numbers with other plant traits and environmental variables. Phylogenetic effects in chromosome number varied among the examined clades but were generally high. Chromosome numbers were poorly related to large scale climatic conditions, while a stronger relationship with categorical variables was found. Specifically, open, disturbed, drought-prone habitats selected for low chromosome numbers, while perennial herbs, living in shaded, stable environments were associated with high chromosome numbers. Altogether, our findings support an evolutionary role of chromosome number variation, and we argue that environmental stability favours higher recombination rates in comparison to unstable environments. In addition, by comparing the results of models testing for the evolvability of 2n and of x, we provide insight into the presumptive ecological significance of polyploidy.
Carta, Angelino; Bedini, Gianni; Peruzzi, Lorenzo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/932390
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