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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Apr 25;97(9):4707-11.

Early Cretaceous lineages of monocot flowering plants.

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  • Department of Systematic Botany, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. kare.bremer@systbot.uu.se


The phylogeny of flowering plants is now rapidly being disclosed by analysis of DNA sequence data, and currently, many Cretaceous fossils of flowering plants are being described. Combining molecular phylogenies with reference fossils of known minimum age makes it possible to date the nodes of the phylogenetic tree. The dating may be done by counting inferred changes in sequenced genes along the branches of the phylogeny and calculating change rates by using the reference fossils. Plastid DNA rbcL sequences and eight reference fossils indicate that approximately 14 of the extant monocot lineages may have diverged from each other during the Early Cretaceous >100 million years B.P. The lineages are very different in size and geographical distribution and provide perspective on flowering plant evolution.

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