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Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2006 Nov;8(6):748-57.

Recent progress in understanding the evolution of carnivorous lentibulariaceae (lamiales).

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  • 1Nees-Institut für Biodiversität der Pflanzen, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 170, 53111 Bonn, Germany.


Carnivorous plants have emerged as model systems for addressing many ecological and evolutionary questions, and since Lentibulariaceae comprise more than half of all known carnivorous species (325 spp.), they are of particular interest. Studies using various molecular markers have established that Lentibulariaceae and their three genera are monophyletic with Pinguicula being sister to a Genlisea-Utricularia-clade, while the closest relatives of the family remain uncertain. Character states of the carnivorous syndrome in related proto-carnivorous lamialean families apparently emerged independently. In Utricularia, the terrestrial habit has been reconstructed as plesiomorphic, and an extension of subgenus Polypompholyx is warranted. In the protozoan-attracting Genlisea, subgenus Tayloria is revealed as basal lineage. In Pinguicula, the six major lineages found reflect radiations in clearly defined geographic regions, whereas most previously recognized subgeneric taxa are non-monophyletic. Genlisea and Utricularia exhibit substitutional rates that rank among the highest in angiosperms for the molecular markers analyzed. One possible explanation for this lies in selective constraints on a wide range of genomic regions that may have been lowered due to the use of an alternative mode of acquiring nutrients.

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