Revised molecular phylogenetic analysis of Leucheria Lag. sensu lato (Asteraceae; Nassauvieae)  and implications for morphological and ecological evolution

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Comment #161 Mark Alan Hershkovitz @ 2024-05-10 09:33

Version 2 is pending....this includes a link to the data file


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Mark Alan Hershkovitz


In a preceding work, I reanalyzed published ribosomal and plastome DNA sequence data for selected species of Leucheria Lag. and related Nassauvieae (Asteraceae). I reported that the genus Polyachyrus Lag. is phylogenetically nested within Leucheria, hence I transferred species of the former into the latter. I also demonstrated that the monotypic Oxyphyllum Phil. pertains to the Leucheria crown clade, and that the available data do not resolve its relation within this group. The present work analyzes all of the available sequence data for the same loci, viz. the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) and plastome (cpDNA) sequences of the rpl32-trnL(UAA) intergenic spacer (rpl32- trnL) and the trnL(UAA) intron plus trnL(UAA)-trnF(GAA) intergenic spacer (trnL-trnF). I report here that the previous phylogenetic analysis of these data was based on an evidently unedited computer- generated multiple sequence alignment of unedited and untrimmed computer-generated chromatograph reads from low quality sequence chromatographs. This yielded a highly erroneous and poorly resolved phylogenetic tree topology whose branch lengths likewise were highly distorted. Nonetheless, in a subsequent phylogenetic comparative analysis of Leucheria morphology and ecology by the same author group, this poorly resolved and erroneous topology and its branch lengths were presumed to be perfectly accurate. Here, I discuss implications of the present results on the interpretation of morphological and ecological evolution and also on the accuracy and integrity of biodiversity research.





Leucheria, Polyachyrus, Oxyphyllum, Asteraceae, Nassauvieae, phylogenetics, molecular systematics


Published: 2024-05-10 03:39

Last Updated: 2024-05-13 00:47

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Not available yet, will be on OSF