Interaction among ploidy, breeding system and lineage diversification

Rosana Zenil-Ferguson*, J. Gordon Burleigh, William A. Freyman, Boris Igić, Itay Mayrose, Emma E. Goldberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


If particular traits consistently affect rates of speciation and extinction, broad macroevolutionary patterns can be interpreted as consequences of selection at high levels of the biological hierarchy. Identifying traits associated with diversification rates is difficult because of the wide variety of characters under consideration and the statistical challenges of testing for associations from comparative phylogenetic data. Ploidy (diploid vs polyploid states) and breeding system (self-incompatible vs self-compatible states) are both thought to be drivers of differential diversification in angiosperms. We fit 29 diversification models to extensive trait and phylogenetic data in Solanaceae and investigate how speciation and extinction rate differences are associated with ploidy, breeding system, and the interaction between these traits. We show that diversification patterns in Solanaceae are better explained by breeding system and an additional unobserved factor, rather than by ploidy. We also find that the most common evolutionary pathway to polyploidy in Solanaceae occurs via direct breakdown of self-incompatibility by whole genome duplication, rather than indirectly via breakdown followed by polyploidization. Comparing multiple stochastic diversification models that include complex trait interactions alongside hidden states enhances our understanding of the macroevolutionary patterns in plant phylogenies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1265
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • SSE models
  • breeding systems
  • diploidization
  • diversification
  • ploidy
  • polyploidy
  • self-incompatibility


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