Collaborative Research: From Acorus to Zingiber - Assembling the Phylogeny of the Monocots

Project: Research project

Project Details


Monocots (including such groups as grasses, palms, orchids, and philodendrons) include more than 65,000 species of flowering plants, occur in almost all habitats, and provide the great majority of the human diet. A definitive family tree for this group will be developed and used to understand the broad-scale evolution of monocots over geologic time. A total of 23 genes in 601 species, whole chloroplast genomes in 175 species, and all genes expressed in 50 species will be sequenced and used to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this group. Additionally, phenotypic data from living and fossil species will be collected, and all data will be analyzed integratively to provide a comprehensive understanding of monocot evolution.

The resulting family tree will provide the foundation for many new studies in physiology, ecology, biogeography, and genomics of flowering plants. Web access to all data and results will be provided to researchers and K-12 teachers and students. Several post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates (with a focus on women and minorities) will be trained, and four young faculty will be supported. A museum exhibit on the evolution of flowering plants will be produced for high-profile venues in New York, Chicago, Denver, and Berkeley, and a children's monocot garden exhibit will be developed at the New York Botanical Garden. Posters illustrating monocot diversity and evolution will be distributed to colleges, and staff will give talks at public high schools.

Effective start/end date9/1/088/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $249,988.00


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