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Title: Whole genome duplication and the evolution of the land plant body plan
Author: Clark, James
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2019
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The evolution of the land plant body plan has shaped the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems, human economics and the Earth's biosphere. The body plan has arisen through a series of innovations or 'jumps' that have in turn facilitated a greater diversity of architecture, reproductive complexity and the ability to occupy increasingly inhospitable environments. The evolution of novelty through gene duplication is a hypothesis that was first developed in the animal kingdom, though the more recent discovery of multiple whole genome duplication (WGD) events throughout plant evolutionary history has sparked a goldrush to identify and characterise WGD events, and to relate them to macroevolutionary hypotheses. As it stands, plants represent the best opportunity to establish a natural system in which to determine the outcomes of WGD events across disparate lineages. However, a fundamental requirement to studying WGD in a phylogenetic context is to first establish on which branch it occurred. Secondly, an accurate estimate of the absolute timing of the event can aid in providing a geological context. Finally, an effort must be made to capture and quantify the macroevolutionary outcome and determine the relative contribution of WGD. Studies of WGD to date have taken a 'tip down' approach, focussing solely on extant taxa and ignoring the wealth of information presented in the fossil record. In this thesis, I aim to establish and progress methods for the identification, dating and characterisation of WGD events in a palaeontological context. I establish a timescale for several of the most ancient duplication events in the most species rich lineages and the lineages on which we are most economically dependent. I demonstrate a means of measuring phenotypic diversity (disparity) at the kingdom level and use this to determine the relationship between WGD and morphological evolution. Ultimately, I show that the best approach to studying WGD in land plants is a holistic one, considering phylogenetic, developmental and palaeontological evidence.
Supervisor: Donoghue, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available