The family Lauraceae is distributed in tropical and warm temperate regions worldwide. Many Lauraceae species provide important economic products, including timber, perfume, spices, herbal medicines, and fruit crops.
Despite all the efforts to reconstruct the Lauraceae phylogeny, relationships have remained poorly resolved and/or supported due to low sequence divergence of commonly used genetic markers within this plant family.
In a recent study published in Journal of Systematics and Evolution, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) described two new tribes of Lauraceae, Caryodaphnopsideae and Neocinnamomeae. They also updated the compositions of other four tribes Cassytheae, Cassytheae, Cryptocaryeae, Hypodaphnideae, and Laureae, based on the phylogenetic framework and phylogenetically conservative traits.
The researchers compiled a dataset composed of 113 plastomes, 43 of which were newly generated, to reconstruct the main relationships within the Lauraceae and among seven of the nine families of the Laurales recognized to date.
They presented phylogenetic analyses of 120 complete plastid genomes and nine barcodes from 19 additional species, which represent 42 genera of Lauraceae and 17 related families of angiosperms, in combination with a matrix of 15 morphological traits of 108 taxa to reconstruct well-resolved relationships of 70% genera within the family Lauraceae.
The phylogenetic framework strongly supported the nine monotypic clades that offered insight to improve the tribal classification of Lauraceae.
“This phylogenetic framework reported here provides the basis for a revised suprageneric classification, and it is an appropriate opportunity for us to divide Lauraceae into six tribes and to update the suprageneric classification of the Lauraceae”, said Dr. SONG Yu, first author of the study.
Song Yu Ph.D
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China