Selection and inertia in the evolution of holocentric chromosomes in sedges (Carex, Cyperaceae)

Authors

  • Marcial Escudero,

    1. Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemical Engineering, Pablo de Olavide University, Ctra. Utrera km 1, 41013-Seville, Spain
    2. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532-1293, USA
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  • Andrew L. Hipp,

    1. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532-1293, USA
    2. Department of Botany, The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
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  • Thomas F. Hansen,

    1. Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PB 1066, Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway
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  • Kjetil L. Voje,

    1. Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PB 1066, Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway
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  • Modesto Luceño

    1. Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemical Engineering, Pablo de Olavide University, Ctra. Utrera km 1, 41013-Seville, Spain
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Author for correspondence:
Marcial Escudero
Tel: +1 630 373 1979
Email: amesclir@gmail.com

Summary

  • Changes in chromosome number as a result of fission and fusion in holocentrics have direct and immediate effects on the recombination rate. We investigate the support for the classic hypothesis that environmental stability selects for increased recombination rates.
  • We employed a phylogenetic and cytogenetic data set from one of the most diverse angiosperm genera in the world, which has the largest nonpolyploid chromosome radiation (Carex, Cyperaceae; 2= 12–124; 2100 spp.). We evaluated alternative Ornstein–Uhlenbeck models of chromosome number adaptation to the environment in an information-theoretic framework.
  • We found moderate support for a positive influence of lateral inflorescence unit size on chromosome number, which may be selected in a stable environment in which resources for reproductive investment are larger. We found weak support for a positive influence on chromosome number of water-saturated soils and among-month temperature constancy, which would be expected to be negatively select for pioneering species. Chromosome number showed a strong phylogenetic signal.
  • We argue that our finding of small but significant effects of life history and ecology is compatible with our original hypothesis regarding selection of optima in recombination rates: low recombination rate is optimal when inmediate fitness is required. By contrast, high recombination rate is optimal when stable environments allow for evolutionary innovation.

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