Evolution of genome size in pines (Pinus) and its life-history correlates: Supertree analyses

Eva Grotkopp, Marcel Rejmánek, Michael J. Sanderson, Thomas L. Rost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


Genome size has been suggested to be a fundamental biological attribute in determining life-history traits in many groups of organisms. We examined the relationships between pine genome sizes and pine phylogeny, environmental factors (latitude, elevation, annual rainfall), and biological traits (latitudinal and elevational ranges, seed mass, minimum generation time, interval between large seed crops, seed dispersal mode, relative growth rate, measures of potential and actual invasiveness, and level of rarity). Genome sizes were determined for 60 pine taxa and then combined with published values to make a dataset encompassing 85 species, or 70% of species in the genus. Supertrees were constructed using 20 published source phylogenies. Ancestral genome size was estimated as 32 pg. Genome size has apparently remained stable or increased over evolutionary time in subgenus Strobus, while it has decreased in most subsections in subgenus Pinus. We analyzed relationships between genome size and life-history variables using cross-species correlations and phylogenetically independent contrasts derived from supertree constructions. The generally assumed positive relation between genome size and minimum generation time could not be confirmed in phylogenetically controlled analyses. We found that the strongest correlation was between genome size and seed mass. Because the growth quantities specific leaf area and leaf area ratio (and to a lesser extent relative growth rate) are strongly negatively related to seed mass, they were also negatively correlated with genome size. Northern latitudinal limit was negatively correlated with genome size. Invasiveness, particularly of wind-dispersed species, was negatively associated with both genome size and seed mass. Seed mass and its relationships with seed number, dispersal mode, and growth rate contribute greatly to the differences in life-history strategies of pines. Many life-history patterns are therefore indirectly, but consistently, associated with genome size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1705-1729
Number of pages25
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Dispersal
  • Growth analysis
  • Invasiveness
  • Latitude
  • Nucleotypic effect
  • Phylogenetically independent contrasts
  • Seed size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of genome size in pines (Pinus) and its life-history correlates: Supertree analyses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this