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Resolving phylogenetic reconstruction in Menispermaceae (Ranunculales) using fossils and a novel statistical test

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Menispermaceae (Moonseed family) are an important family within the basal eudicots. This study is a first attempt to infer phylogenetic relationships within Menispermaceae, focusing on morphological data and using cladistic methodology. Sampling included genera from all the eight tribes usually recognized within the family, and was representative of the morphological diversity and worldwide distribution of the group. Preliminary trees were poorly resolved and were optimized using Reduced Cladistic Consensus (RCC) and NoiseSnapper. The latter program was used for the first time in phylogeny. In addition, fossils of the Eocene of the Paris Basin were included in the analysis. All three approaches were useful as they allowed for improvement of resolution. None of the tribes were found to be monophyletic except Menispermeae. We also show that fruit characters are unreliable and should not be used for classification.
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Keywords: CLADISTICS; FOSSIL; MENISPERMACEAE; MORPHOLOGY; NOISESNAPPER; PHYLOGENY; REDUCED CLADISTIC CONSENSUS (RCC)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, UMR 5143 Paléobiodiversité et Paléoenvironnements, Laboratoire Informatique et Structuration des Cladogrammes, 12 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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