Molecular evolution across the asteraceae: Micro-and macroevolutionary processes

Nolan C. Kane, Michael S. Barker, Shing H. Zhan, Loren H. Rieseberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Asteraceae (Compositae) is a large family of over 20,000 wild, weedy, and domesticated species that comprise approximately 10% of all angiosperms, including annual and perennial herbs, shrubs and trees, and species on every continent except Antarctica. As a result, the Asteraceae provide a unique opportunity to understand the evolutionary genomics of lineage radiation and diversification at numerous phylogenetic scales. Using publicly available expressed sequence tags from 22 species representing four of the major Asteraceae lineages, we assessed neutral and nonneutral evolutionary processes across this diverse plant family. We used bioinformatic tools to identify candidate genes under selection in each species. Evolution at silent and coding sites were assessed for different Gene Ontology functional categories to compare rates of evolution over both short and long evolutionary timescales. Our results indicate that patterns of molecular change across the family are surprisingly consistent on a macroevolutionary timescale and much more so more than would be predicted from the analysis of one (or many) examples of microevolution. These analyses also point to particular classes of genes that may be crucial in shaping the radiation of this diverse plant family. Similar analyses of nuclear and chloroplast genes in six other plant families confirm that many of these patterns are common features of the plant kingdom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3225-3235
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteraceae
  • adaptive evolution
  • comparative genomics
  • macroevolution
  • microevolution
  • speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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