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Rate of gene sequence evolution and species diversification in flowering plants: a re-evaluation
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences
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Barraclough and co-workers (in a paper published in 1996) observed that there was a significant positive correlation between the rate of evolution of the rbcL chloroplast gene within families of flowering plants and the number of species in those families. We tested three additional data sets of our own (based on both plastid and nuclear genes) and used methods designed specifically for the comparison of sister families (based on random speciation and extinction). We show that, over all sister groups, the correlation between the rate of gene evolution and an increased diversity is not always present. Despite tending towards a positive association, the observation of individual probabilities presents a U-shaped distribution of association (i.e. it can be either significantly positive or negative). We discuss the influence of both phylogenetic sampling and applied taxonomies on the results.
biodiversity, gene sequence evolution, rbcL, 18S nuclear gene, angiosperms
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