Fern phylogeny inferred from 400 leptosporangiate species and three plastid genes
In an effort to obtain a solid and balanced approximation of global fern phylogeny to serve as a tool for addressing large-scale evolutionary questions, we assembled and analyzed the most inclusive molecular dataset for leptosporangiate ferns to date. Three plastid genes (rbcL, atpB, atpA), totaling more than 4,000 bp, were sequenced for each of 400 leptosporangiate fern species (selected using a proportional sampling approach) and five outgroups. Maximum likelihood analysis of these data yielded an especially robust phylogeny: 80% of the nodes were supported by a maximum likelihood bootstrap percentage ≥ 70. The scope of our analysis provides unprecedented insight into overall fern relationships, not only delivering additional support for the deepest leptosporangiate divergences, but also uncovering the composition of more recently emerging clades and their relationships to one another.
Schuettpelz, E; Pryer, KM
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