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Divergence time estimates and the evolution of major lineages in the f…

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http://www.nature.com/articles/srep21361

 

 

Abstract

The Florideophyceae is the most abundant and taxonomically diverse class of red algae (Rhodophyta). However, many aspects of the systematics and divergence times of the group remain unresolved. Using a seven-gene concatenated dataset (nuclear EF2, LSU and SSU rRNAs, mitochondrial cox1, and plastid rbcL, psaA and psbA genes), we generated a robust phylogeny of red algae to provide an evolutionary timeline for florideophyte diversification. Our relaxed molecular clock analysis suggests that the Florideophyceae diverged approximately 943 (817–1,049) million years ago (Ma). The major divergences in this class involved the emergence of Hildenbrandiophycidae [ca. 781 (681–879) Ma], Nemaliophycidae [ca. 661 (597–736) Ma], Corallinophycidae [ca. 579 (543–617) Ma], and the split of Ahnfeltiophycidae and Rhodymeniophycidae [ca. 508 (442–580) Ma]. Within these clades, extant diversity reflects largely Phanerozoic diversification. Divergences within Florideophyceae were accompanied by evolutionary changes in the carposporophyte stage, leading to a successful strategy for maximizing spore production from each fertilization event. Our research provides robust estimates for the divergence times of major lineages within the Florideophyceae. This timeline was used to interpret the emergence of key morphological innovations that characterize these multicellular red algae.

 

 

 

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