New progress has been made in the study of the diversity and differentiation history of hidden species of plants in the family Platyptaceae

Recently, the team of Kang Ming, a researcher at the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made new progress in the study of the diversity and differentiation history of recessive species of plants on the basis of large-scale field investigation and sample collection. Related research papers were published in Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution. Yi Huiqin is the first author of the paper, and Kang Ming is the corresponding author.

Tree fern species diversity and extensive natural hybridization. Photo courtesy of the research team

It is a fern with a dendritic trunk under the protection of Platyptaceae in China, which has very important scientific research and biodiversity conservation value. Cryptospecies are species that are morphologically indistinguishable but genetically divergent. Correct understanding and detection of hidden species diversity plays a crucial role in biodiversity assessment and conservation.

The species diversity of the living family is extremely rich, and the morphological traits of many related species are very similar, and it is difficult to define the species of related species through phenotypic differences and a few molecular markers. The development of genome sequencing technology and the continuous improvement of species definition analysis methods provide new opportunities for accurately understanding the species diversity of Platyptus.

Based on large-scale field surveys and sample collection, the researchers used simplified genome sequencing technology (RAD-seq), combined with phylogenetic genomics and population genetics methods, to systematically study the phylogenetic relationships and differentiation histories of all 16 species known in China and Vietnam. The results of phylogenetic reconstruction and species definition analysis supported the lineage uniformity of existing species in this taxa, and it was found that there was hidden species diversity in three long-term species concepts in the genus Platocarpus, namely Platyptus nigrica, Platyptus niggaris and Platyptus niggaris.

Gene flow detection showed that there were frequent hybridization and infiltration between and within the genera of Platyptidae, indicating that natural hybridization played an important role in the evolution of Platyptaceae. The results of this study have guiding significance for the in situ and ex situ conservation of Platyptaceae. (Source: China Science News Zhu Hanbin)

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