Phylogenomic resolution of order- and family-level monocot relationships using 602 single-copy nuclear genes and 1375 BUSCO genes

Prakash Raj Timilsena, Eric K. Wafula, Craig F. Barrett, Saravanaraj Ayyampalayam, Joel R. McNeal, Jeremy D. Rentsch, Michael R. McKain, Karolina Heyduk, Alex Harkess, Matthieu Villegente, John G. Conran, Nicola Illing, Bruno Fogliani, Cécile Ané, J. Chris Pires, Jerrold I. Davis, Wendy B. Zomlefer, Dennis W. Stevenson, Sean W. Graham, Thomas J. GivnishJames Leebens-Mack, Claude W. dePamphilis

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10 Scopus citations


We assess relationships among 192 species in all 12 monocot orders and 72 of 77 families, using 602 conserved single-copy (CSC) genes and 1375 benchmarking single-copy ortholog (BUSCO) genes extracted from genomic and transcriptomic datasets. Phylogenomic inferences based on these data, using both coalescent-based and supermatrix analyses, are largely congruent with the most comprehensive plastome-based analysis, and nuclear-gene phylogenomic analyses with less comprehensive taxon sampling. The strongest discordance between the plastome and nuclear gene analyses is the monophyly of a clade comprising Asparagales and Liliales in our nuclear gene analyses, versus the placement of Asparagales and Liliales as successive sister clades to the commelinids in the plastome tree. Within orders, around six of 72 families shifted positions relative to the recent plastome analysis, but four of these involve poorly supported inferred relationships in the plastome-based tree. In Poales, the nuclear data place a clade comprising Ecdeiocoleaceae+Joinvilleaceae as sister to the grasses (Poaceae); Typhaceae, (rather than Bromeliaceae) are resolved as sister to all other Poales. In Commelinales, nuclear data place Philydraceae sister to all other families rather than to a clade comprising Haemodoraceae+Pontederiaceae as seen in the plastome tree. In Liliales, nuclear data place Liliaceae sister to Smilacaceae, and Melanthiaceae are placed sister to all other Liliales except Campynemataceae. Finally, in Alismatales, nuclear data strongly place Tofieldiaceae, rather than Araceae, as sister to all the other families, providing an alternative resolution of what has been the most problematic node to resolve using plastid data, outside of those involving achlorophyllous mycoheterotrophs. As seen in numerous prior studies, the placement of orders Acorales and Alismatales as successive sister lineages to all other extant monocots. Only 21.2% of BUSCO genes were demonstrably single-copy, yet phylogenomic inferences based on BUSCO and CSC genes did not differ, and overall functional annotations of the two sets were very similar. Our analyses also reveal significant gene tree-species tree discordance despite high support values, as expected given incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) related to rapid diversification. Our study advances understanding of monocot relationships and the robustness of phylogenetic inferences based on large numbers of nuclear single-copy genes that can be obtained from transcriptomes and genomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number876779
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Nov 22 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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