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 Phylogeny of Paullinia L.(Paullinieae: Sapindaceae), a diverse genus of lianas with rapid fruit evolution. 

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution

Chery, J. G., Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Rothfels, C. J., & Specht, C. D. 

2019

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution

BioRxiv, 2019

673988

Paullinia L. is a genus of c. 220 mostly Neotropical forest-dwelling lianas that displays a wide diversity of fruit morphologies. Paullinia resembles other members of the Paullinieae in being a climber with stipulate compound leaves and paired inflorescence tendrils. However, it is distinct in having capsular fruits with woody, coriaceous, or crustaceous pericarps. While consistent in this basic plan, the pericarps of Paullinia fruits are otherwise highly variable—in some species they are winged, whereas in others they are without wings or covered with spines. With the exception of the water-dispersed indehiscent spiny fruits of some members of Paullinia sect. Castanella, all species are dehiscent, opening their capsules while they are still attached to the branch, to reveal arillate animal-dispersed seeds. Here we present a molecular phylogeny of Paullinia derived from 11 molecular markers, including nine novel single-copy nuclear markers amplified by microfluidics PCR. This is the first broadly sampled molecular phylogeny for the genus. Paullinia is supported as monophyletic and is sister to Cardiospermum L., which together are sister to Serjania Mill + Urvillea Kunth. We apply this novel phylogenetic hypothesis to test previous infrageneric classifications and to infer that unwinged fruits represent the ancestral condition, from which there were repeated evolutionary transitions and reversals. However, because the seeds of both winged and unwinged fruits are all dispersed by animals, we conclude that the repeated transitions in fruit morphology may relate to visual display strategies to attract animal dispersers, and do not represent transitions to wind dispersal.

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Support

The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.