Systematics Section / ASPT
Ghebretinsae, Amanuel , Barber, Janet C. , Graham, Shirley A. .
Molecular Phylogenetics and Character Evolution of Cuphea P. Browne (Lythraceae) in North America.
CUPHEA P. Browne is the largest genus in the Lythraceae, comprising ca. 270 species distributed from the eastern United States to Argentina. The genus exhibits a wide variety of floral morphologies, pollination syndromes, chromosome numbers and seed oil composition. Floral diversity within the genus reaches its greatest expression in North America center of diversity (hosting ca. 85 species), and numerous animals such as bees, butterflies, birds, hawk moths and small insects pollinate the plants. Cuphea seeds produce highly diversified oils that are rich in a variety of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), including lineolic, myristic, lauric, capric and caprylic acids. These fatty acids have worldwide importance as ingredients in industrial feed-stocks, detergents and cosmetics. At present, there is no domestic source of MCFAs in the United States. Thus, enormous efforts have been made to domesticate several species of Cuphea as a reliable domestic source. Preliminary studies based on morphology and sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA support a monophyletic North American clade, suggesting a single introduction of Cuphea to North America with subsequent radiation producing a diverse array of species. In the current study, nuclear and chloroplast markers were used to reconstruct the phylogeny of the North American Cuphea. This phylogeny will be employed to verify the monophyly of the North American clade, and to determine the evolutionary patterns of floral morphology, pollination syndromes, chromosome number and seed oil composition. A well-supported phylogeny will also identify additional species with potentially desirable MFCA content suitable for domestication.
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1 - Saint Louis University, Department of Biology, 3507 Laclede Avenue, St Louis, Missouri, 63103-2010, USA
2 - Kent State University, Missouri Botanical Garden, Po Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166-0299, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Auditorium/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 12:30 PM