Diversification of an underutilised crop genus in Borneo

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Recent work points to Borneo as an evolutionary and biodiversity hotspot. The genus Artocarpus (Moraceae) has many Borneo endemics, and more than a dozen underutilised crops, including breadfruit. Williams et al. reconstruct the evolutionary history of Artocarpus.

Representative species from Artocarpus subgenera.
Representative species from Artocarpus subgenera. (A) Subgenus Prainea: A. limpato. (B) Subgenus Cauliflori: A. heterophyllus. (C) Subgenus Artocarpus: A. sericicarpus. (D) Subgenus Pseudojaca: A. dadah. All scale bars are 5 cm.

They find that Borneo represents the ancestral range for the genus and likely served as a centre of diversification (especially during the Miocene), from which Artocarpus species dispersed to and diversified in other regions of South and Southeast Asia. The phylogeny presented may be useful in identifying the crop’s wild relatives, and highlights the need for conservation of areas with high species diversification and endemism.

Reference

Williams, E. W., Gardner, E. M., Harris, R., Chaveerach, A., Pereira, J. T., & Zerega, N. J. C. (2017). Out of Borneo: biogeography, phylogeny and divergence date estimates of Artocarpus (Moraceae). Annals of Botany, mcw249. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcw249


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