When it only takes one to tango: assessing the impact of apomixis in the fern genus Pteris

Kathryn T. Picard, Hannah Ranft, Amanda L. Grusz, Michael D. Windham, Eric Schuettpelz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Premise: Apomixis (asexual reproduction by seed, spore, or egg) has evolved repeatedly across the tree of life. Studies of animals and angiosperms show that apomictic lineages are often evolutionarily short-lived and frequently exhibit different distributions than their sexual relatives. However, apomixis is rare in these groups. Less is known about the role of apomixis in the evolution and biogeography of ferns, in which ~10% of species are apomictic. Apomixis is especially common in the fern genus Pteris (34–39% of species); however, because of the limited taxonomic and geographic sampling of previous studies, the true frequency of apomixis and its associations with geography and phylogeny in this lineage remain unclear. Methods: We used spore analyses of herbarium specimens to determine reproductive mode for 127 previously unsampled Pteris species. Then we leveraged biogeographic and phylogenetic analyses to estimate the global distribution and evolution of apomixis in Pteris. Results: Among all Pteris species examined, we found that 21% are exclusively apomictic, 71% are exclusively sexual, and 8% have conflicting reports. Apomixis is unevenly distributed across the range of the genus, with the Paleotropics exhibiting the highest frequency, and has evolved numerous times across the Pteris phylogeny, with predominantly East Asian and South Asian clades containing the most apomictic species. Conclusions: Apomixis arises frequently in Pteris, but apomictic species do not appear to diversify. Species that encompass both apomictic and sexual populations have wider ranges than exclusively sexual or apomictic species, which suggests that sexual and apomictic ferns could occupy separate ecological niches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2220-2234
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Volume108
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for feedback from two anonymous reviewers whose insightful comments significantly improved the manuscript. Financial support for this study was provided in part by a National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Research Grant awarded to A.L.G., M.D.W., and E.S.; by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (DBI-1907294) to K.T.P.; and through a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant awarded to NMNH (OCE-1560088) that supported H.R. The authors also thank J. Prado for assisting with the acquisition of material (collected in part under permit CNPq Processo EXC n. 010239/2009-0) and G. Johnson (NMNH) for his assistance in generating new sequence data for this study. All molecular work was performed in and with the support of the Laboratories of Analytical Biology (LAB) at the NMNH, Smithsonian Institution.

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for feedback from two anonymous reviewers whose insightful comments significantly improved the manuscript. Financial support for this study was provided in part by a National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Research Grant awarded to A.L.G., M.D.W., and E.S.; by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (DBI‐1907294) to K.T.P.; and through a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant awarded to NMNH (OCE‐1560088) that supported H.R. The authors also thank J. Prado for assisting with the acquisition of material (collected in part under permit CNPq Processo EXC n. 010239/2009‐0) and G. Johnson (NMNH) for his assistance in generating new sequence data for this study. All molecular work was performed in and with the support of the Laboratories of Analytical Biology (LAB) at the NMNH, Smithsonian Institution.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. American Journal of Botany published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Botanical Society of America.

Keywords

  • Pteridaceae
  • Pteris
  • apomixis
  • biogeography
  • geographic parthenogenesis

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