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Abstract Detail

The Challenges Posed by Large Data Sets in Assembling the Plant and Fungal Trees of Life

Binder, Manfred [1], Hibbett, David [1].

Codivergence analyses of Fungi, plants, and animals.

Fungi represent one of the three major groups of eukaryotes that colonized land and evolved complex multicellular structures. Today, Fungi include perhaps a million or more species that have profound impacts on contemporary ecosystems through their activities as decomposers and symbionts of diverse plants and animals. Nevertheless, the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems is often depicted as a history of plants and animals only. The absence of fungi from such historical scenarios has been due largely to the relative paucity of rigorously identified fungal fossils. Variance in rates of molecular evolution has also limited our ability to integrate Fungi into the timeline of eukaryotic evolution. In an effort to develop a relative timescale for the evolution of Fungi, plants, and animals, we are performing simultaneous molecular clock analyses that span all eukaryotes. We have constructed a core dataset based on species for which complete genome sequences are available, which now includes data for 48 genes from 81 species, including 37 Fungi, 27 animals (plus choanoflagellates), 10 viridiplantae, and 7 other eukaryotes. We are augmenting this core dataset with data specific to Fungi and Plants, resulting in a supermatrix that spans additional nodes relevant to the origins of key fungal interactions. Analyses with and without fossil calibrations will allow us to estimate the relative and absolute ages of major clades in all three groups and to assess the sensitivity of the age estimates to calibration effects.

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1 - Clark University, Department of Biology, 950 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, 01610, USA

Molecular clock.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY5
Location: Ballroom 2/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: SY5005
Abstract ID:772

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