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Open Access A Global Phylogenomic Study of the Thelypteridaceae

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The generic classification of the Thelypteridaceae has been the subject of much controversy. Proposed taxonomic systems have varied from recognizing the approximately 1200 species in the family within the single genus Thelypteris, to systems favoring upwards of 30 genera. Insights on intrafamilial relationships, especially for neotropical taxa, have been gained from recent phylogenetic studies; however, in the most recent classification, 10 of 30 recognized genera are either non-monophyletic or untested. We sequenced 407 nuclear loci for 621 samples, representing all recognized genera and approximately half the known species diversity. These were analyzed using both maximum likelihood analysis of a concatenated matrix and multi-species coalescent methods. Our phylogenomic results, informed by recently published morphological evidence, provide the foundation for a generic classification which recircumscribed 14 genera and recognized seven new genera. The 37 monophyletic genera sampled demonstrate greater geographic coherence than previous taxonomic concepts suggested. Additionally, our results demonstrate that certain morphological characters, such as frond division, are evolutionarily labile and are thus inadequate for defining genera.

Keywords: Amauropelta; Christella; Pneumatopteris; Pronephrium; ferns; phylogeny; systematics; targeted enrichment; taxonomy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 1Pringle Herbarium, Department of Plant Biology, University of Vermont, 111 Jeffords Hall, 63 Carrigan Dr., Bington, Vermont 05401, USA 2: 3University Herbarium, University of California, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg., Berkeley, California 94720-2465, USA 3: 4Department of Biology, University of Florida, 220 Bartram Hall, Gainesville, Florida 32611-8525, USA 4: 5Institute of Molecular & Cellular Biology, National Tsing Hua University, No. 101, Section 2, Kuang-Fu Road, Hsinchu, Taiwan 5: 6Independent researcher, Keelung 202, Taiwan 6: 7Department of Systematic & Evolutionary Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8008, Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: December 21, 2021

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