Phylogenetics and Biogeography of Maples Based on Plastid Genome Data

Student Author(s)

Parker Bussies

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jianhua Li

Document Type


Event Date



Acer (maples) is one of the species rich tree genera in the Northern Hemisphere and consists of ~130 species. Maples are easily recognized by the opposite leaf arrangement and samara type of fruits. While the modern center of diversity is in central and southwestern China with two-thirds of the total number of species, some morphologically distinctive lineages occur in Japan, North America, Central Asia, Europe, and Indonesia. Recent phylogenetic studies of Acer have used sequences of nuclear ribosomal and chloroplast DNA regions. However, none have resolved the deep relationships among maple sections. This has hampered our understanding of the natural history of maples. In this study, we gathered plastid genome sequences from representatives of the sections using the IonTorrent sequencing technology, and our results suggested that maples might have experienced a rapid diversification of lineages in the Eocene resulting in most of the sections.


This work was supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholarship.

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