Solanaceae Source

A global taxonomic resource for the nightshade family

Oct 23th, 2020 - Chris Martine & Angela McDonnell

Next SOL Seminar Online will be presented by Chris Martine & Angela McDonnell on ​Sexual fluidity, species discovery, and #scicomm: The prickly solanums of the Australian Monsoon Tropics

Abstract. Just 1% of species in Solanaceae exhibit a dioecious breeding system, with the majority of the  occurrences happening within the "spiny solanums" of the Australian Monsoon Tropics. In these species, morphologically hermaphrodite individuals produce inaperturate pollen that renders them functionally female. The "S. dioicum group", consisting of functionally dioecious taxa and a set of andromonoecious relatives has been a subject of systematic study for decades, yet the relationships among groups of species and, thus, the patterns in sexual system evolution are still poorly understood. We aim to illuminate the evolutionary history of the lineage using targeted enrichment data, evaluate areas and potential sources of phylogenetic conflict, reconstruct the evolution of diverse breeding systems, and revisit previous hypotheses regarding reproductive characters. We include 172 individuals representing 102 taxa and report on data obtained via the Angiosperms 353 probe set. Against a background of hermaphroditism, we detect one origin of andromonoecy, one or two origins of dioecy, and one possible reversal to the hermaphroditic state within a revised "S. dioicum group". Our study provides a framework of evolutionary relationships in Australian spiny Solanum; most inferred species relationships are well supported across multiple analyses while the detected discordance among gene trees highlights a complex history that includes rapid speciation, incomplete sorting of ancestral variation, and hybridization. We highlight the evolution of diverse reproductive traits and suggest that sexual system transitions in this group are not only more common than previously thought, but also underlie an ongoing radiation requiring further taxonomic effort - an effort that, when coupled with creative approaches to science communication and media relations, can lead to unexpected outcomes and interdisciplinary opportunities.

When? Friday 23th October 4 pm (GMT+1)

The zoom link to join the meeting is Meeting ID: 943 3314 6166, password: Solanaceae

Watch this talk again here:



Friday, October 23, 2020 - 16:00
Thu, 2020-10-22 17:16 -- rocio

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith