Nuclear phylogenomics of the palm subfamily Arecoideae (Arecaceae).

Research paper by Jason R JR Comer, Wendy B WB Zomlefer, Craig F CF Barrett, Dennis Wm DW Stevenson, Karolina K Heyduk, James H JH Leebens-Mack

Indexed on: 10 Jan '16Published on: 10 Jan '16Published in: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution


Palms (Arecaceae) include economically important species such as coconut, date palm, and oil palm. Resolution of the palm phylogeny has been problematic due to rapid diversification and slow rates of molecular evolution. The focus of this study is on relationships of the 14 tribes of subfamily Arecoideae and their inferred ancestral areas. A targeted sequencing approach was used to generate a data set of 168 single/low copy nuclear genes for 34 species representing the Arecoideae tribes and the other palm subfamilies. Species trees from the concatenated and coalescent based analyses recovered largely congruent topologies. Three major tribal clades were recovered: the POS clade (Podococceae, Oranieae, Sclerospermeae), the RRC clade (Roystoneeae, Reinhardtieae, Cocoseae), and the core arecoid clade (Areceae, Euterpeae, Geonomateae, Leopoldinieae, Manicarieae, Pelagodoxeae). Leopoldinieae was sister to the rest of the core arecoids (Geonomateae, Manicarieae+Pelagodoxeae, and Areceae+Euterpeae). The nuclear phylogeny supported a North American origin for subfamily Arecoideae, with most tribal progenitors diversifying within the Americas. The POS clade may have dispersed from the Americas into Africa, with tribe Oranieae subsequently spreading into the Indo-Pacific. Two independent dispersals into the Indo-Pacific were inferred for two tribes within the core arecoids (tribes Areceae and Pelagodoxeae).