Dramatic difference in rate of chromosome number evolution among sundew (Drosera L., Droseraceae) lineages

Rebekah A. Mohn, Rosana Zenil-Ferguson, Thilo A. Krueger, Andreas S. Fleischmann, Adam T. Cross, Ya Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chromosome number change is a driver of speciation in eukaryotic organisms. Carnivorous sundews in the plant genus Drosera L. exhibit single chromosome number variation both among and within species, especially in the Australian Drosera subg. Ergaleium D.C., potentially linked to atypical centromeres that span much of the length of the chromosomes. We critically reviewed the literature on chromosome counts in Drosera, verified the taxonomy and quality of the original counts, and reconstructed dated phylogenies. We used the BiChrom model to test whether rates of single chromosome number increase and decrease, and chromosome number doubling differed between D. subg. Ergaleium and the other subgenera and between self-compatible and self-incompatible lineages. The best model for chromosome evolution among subgenera had equal rates of chromosome number doubling but higher rates of single chromosome number change in D. subg. Ergaleium than in the other subgenera. Contrary to expectation, self-incompatible lineages had a significantly higher rate of single chromosome loss than self-compatible lineages. We found no evidence for an association between differences in single chromosome number changes and diploidization after polyploidy or centromere type. This study presents an exemplar for critically examining published cytological data and rigorously testing factors that may impact the rates of chromosome number evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2314-2325
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • BiChrom model
  • RevBayes
  • carnivorous plants
  • chromosome number change
  • diploidization
  • holocentric chromosomes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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