The tribe Senecioneae is one of the largest tribes in Asteraceae, with a nearly cosmopolitan distribution. Despite great efforts devoted to elucidate the evolution of Senecioneae, many questions still remain concerning the systematics of this group, from the tribal circumscription and position to species relationships in many genera. The hybridization-based target enrichment method of next-generation sequencing has been accepted as a promising approach to resolve phylogenetic problems. We herein develop a set of single-/low-copy genes for Senecioneae, and test their phylogenetic utilities. Our results demonstrate that these genes work highly efficiently for Senecioneae, with a high average gene recovery of 98.8% across the tribe and recovering robust phylogenetic hypotheses at different levels. In particular, the delimitation of the Senecioneae has been confirmed to include Abrotanella and exclude Doronicum, with the former sister to core Senecioneae and the latter shown to be more closely related to Calenduleae. Moreover, Doronicum and Calenduleae are inferred to be the closest relatives of Senecioneae, which is a new hypothesis well supported by statistical topology tests, morphological evidence, and the profile of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, a special kind of chemical characters generally used to define Senecioneae. Furthermore, this study suggests a complex reticulation history in the diversification of Senecioneae, accounting for the prevalence of polyploid groups in the tribe. With subtribe Tussilagininae s.str. as a case study showing a more evident pattern of gene duplication, we further explored reconstructing the phylogeny in the groups with high ploidy levels. Our results also demonstrate that tree topologies based on sorted paralogous copies are stable across different methods of phylogenetic inference, and more congruent with the morphological evidence and the results of previous phylogenetic studies.
Keywords: Abrotanella; Calenduleae; Doronicum; Gene paralogy; Phylogeny; Polyploidy; Target enrichment.
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