eMonocot Cyperaceae

an authoritative resource for Cyperaceae data worldwide, integrating global and regional perspectives

A molecular survey concerning the origin of Cyperus esculentus (Cyperaceae, Poales): two sides of the same coin (weed vs. crop)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:De Castro, O., Gargiulo, R., Del Guacchio, E., Caputo, P., De Luca P.
Journal:Annals of Botany

<p>Background and Aims Cyperus esculentus is widespread in tropical and temperate zones and is also present in cooler regions. It is used as a crop plant, but it also occurs in the wild and as a weed. As a consequence of its ecological plasticity, C. esculentus has remarkable variability, with several morphotypes. Four wild-type varieties are presently recognized, in addition to the cultivated form. This study investigates the phylogenetic position and biogeography of C. esculentus with the objective of contributing new data to increase the understanding of its evolutionary history.Methods Genealogical relationships among genotypes were inferred by using plastid DNA haplotype and nuclear ribosomal (nr) DNA ribotype sequences for 70 specimens either collected in the field or obtained from herbaria. Statistical dispersal&ndash;vicariance (S-DIVA) and Bayesian binary method (BBM) analyses were used to reconstruct the possible ancestral ranges of C. esculentus. In order to determine the age of C. esculentus, a time-measured phylogenetic analysis was performed.Key Results Considerable variation between the chosen nuclear and plastid markers was detected (27 ribotypes vs. six haplotypes). No geographical structure was displayed among the haplotypes, but information on the dispersal pattern may be deduced. Two types of ribotypes were detected in nrDNA, with an evident geographical segregation into an Old World group and a polymorphic New World group. Both S-DIVA and BBM analyses suggested a biogeographical history in which dispersal from the African region has been crucial in shaping the current distribution pattern of C. esculentus. The most recent common ancestor between C. esculentus races has an age of 5.1 million years (95&nbsp;% highest posterior density 2.5&ndash;10.2).Conclusions The molecular analysis provides novel insights into the evolutionary history of C. esculentus. The results have various taxonomic and phylogenetic implications, including a hypothesis on the origin and phylogeography of this species, which probably originated in the late Cenozoic in Africa, and reached the Americas repeatedly, independently of Columbian exchanges.</p>

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith