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Implications of rbcL phylogeny for historical biogeography of genus Mercurialis L.: Estimating age and center of origin

Author(s): Jovanović V. | Cvetković Dragana

Journal: Archives of Biological Sciences
ISSN 0354-4664

Volume: 62;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 603;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Mercurialis | Acalyphoideae | molecular clock | center of origin | ancestral area analysis | dispersal-vicariance analysis | historical biogeography

The aim of this study was to address questions concerning the historical biogeography of the genus Mercurialis in the subfamily Acalyphoideae. Applying a molecular clock to obtained rbcL phylogeny, we estimated the minimal age of divergence of genus Mercurialis to ~65-66 Ma, placing it at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. We used ancestral area analysis and dispersal-vicariance analysis to infer the center of origin of the genus. Contrary to previous hypothesis, our results show that Mercurialis originated in Indomalaya and migrated westward, while the Mediterranean area was most probably the center of ecological diversification and further speciation. Evolutionary events of vicariance and dispersals were reconstructed in a proposed scenario of divergence of Mercurialis within Acalyphoideae. .
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