Landis, J. B., D. E. Soltis, Z. Li, H. E. Marx, M. S. Barker, D. C. Tank, and P. S. Soltis. 2018. Impact of whole-genome duplication events on diversification rates in angiosperms. American Journal of Botany 105:348–363. [View on publisher’s site]


Premise of the Study

Polyploidy or whole‐genome duplication (WGD) pervades the evolutionary history of angiosperms. Despite extensive progress in our understanding of WGD, the role of these events in promoting diversification is still not well understood. We seek to clarify the possible association between WGD and diversification rates in flowering plants.


Using a previously published phylogeny spanning all land plants (31,749 tips) and WGD events inferred from analyses of the 1000 Plants (1KP) transcriptome data, we analyzed the association of WGDs and diversification rates following numerous WGD events across the angiosperms. We used a stepwise AIC approach (MEDUSA), a Bayesian mixture model approach (BAMM), and state‐dependent diversification analyses (MuSSE) to investigate patterns of diversification. Sister‐clade comparisons were used to investigate species richness after WGDs.

Key Results

Based on the density of 1KP taxon sampling, 106 WGDs were unambiguously placed on the angiosperm phylogeny. We identified 334–530 shifts in diversification rates. We found that 61 WGD events were tightly linked to changes in diversification rates, and state‐dependent diversification analyses indicated higher speciation rates for subsequent rounds of WGD. Additionally, 70 of 99 WGD events showed an increase in species richness compared to the sister clade.


Forty‐six of the 106 WGDs analyzed appear to be closely associated with upshifts in the rate of diversification in angiosperms. Shifts in diversification do not appear more likely than random within a four‐node lag phase following a WGD; however, younger WGD events are more likely to be followed by an upshift in diversification than older WGD events.