RAD-seq and morphology clarify evolutionary relationships in Eurasian bee orchids

Eurasian bee orchids (Ophrys, Orchidaceae) have become the most popular model system for studying reproduction via insect-mediated pseudo-copulation and for exploring the consequent, putatively adaptive, evolutionary radiations. However, despite intensive past research, both the phylogenetic structure and species diversity within the genus remain highly contentious.

Bee Orchid

Bateman et al. combine next-generation DNA sequencing with morphological cladistic analysis to clarify phylogenetic structure and character evolution within the genus. The morphological data proved unusually homoplastic and poorly congruent with the molecular data, which resolved three major groups; this strongly supported the monophyly of nine out of ten ‘macrospecies’ previously circumscribed using candidate-gene approaches.

Reference List

Bateman, R. M., Sramkó, G., & Paun, O. (2018). Integrating restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) with morphological cladistic analysis clarifies evolutionary relationships among major species groups of bee orchids. Annals of Botany, 121(1), 85–105. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx129