Conflicting phylogenetic signals in plastomes of the tribe Laureae (Lauraceae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2020
Authors:T. - W. Xiao, Xu, Y., Jin, L., Liu, T. - J., Yan, H. - F., Ge, X. - J.
Keywords:Intra-plastome conflict, Laureae, Phylogenetic signal, Tree discordance

Background. Gene tree discordance is common in phylogenetic analyses. Many phylogenetic studies have excluded non-coding regions of the plastome without evaluating their impact on tree topology. In general, plastid loci have often been treated as a single unit, and tree discordance among these loci has seldom been examined. Using samples of Laureae (Lauraceae) plastomes, we explored plastome variation among the tribe, examined the influence of non-coding regions on tree topology, and quantified intra-plastome conflict.
Results. We found that the plastomes of Laureae have low inter-specific variation and are highly similar in structure, size, and gene content. Laureae was divided into three groups, subclades I, II and III. The inclusion of non-coding regions changed the phylogenetic relationship among the three subclades. Topologies based on coding and non-coding regions were largely congruent except for the relationship among subclades I, II and III. By measuring the distribution of phylogenetic signal across loci that supported different topologies, we found that nine loci (two coding regions, two introns and five intergenic spacers) played a critical role at the contentious node.
Conclusions. Our results suggest that subclade III and subclade II are successively sister to subclade I. Conflicting phylogenetic signals exist between coding and non-coding regions of Laureae plastomes. Our study highlights the importance of evaluating the influence of non-coding regions on tree topology and emphasizes the necessity of examining discordance among different plastid loci in phylogenetic studies.

Alternate Journal:PeerJ
Refereed Designation:Refereed
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith