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Complex evolutionary history of coffees revealed by full plastid genomes and 28,800 nuclear SNP analyses, with particular emphasis on Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee)

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

For decades coffees were associated with the genus Coffea. In 2011, the closely related genus Psilanthus was subsumed into Coffea. However, results obtained in 2017-based on 28,800 nuclear SNPs-indicated that there is not substantial phylogenetic support for this incorporation. In addition, a recent study of 16 plastid fullgenome sequences highlighted an incongruous placement of Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee) between maternal and nuclear trees. In this study, similar global features of the plastid genomes of Psilanthus and Coffea are observed. In agreement with morphological and physiological traits, the nuclear phylogenetic tree clearly separates Psilanthus from Coffea (with exception to C. rhamnifolia, closer to Psilanthus than to Coffea). In contrast, the maternal molecular tree was incongruent with both morphological and nuclear differentiation, with four main clades observed, two of which include both Psilanthus and Coffea species, and two with either Psilanthus or Coffea species. Interestingly, Coffea and Psilanthus taxa sampled in West and Central Africa are members of the same group. Several mechanisms such as the retention of ancestral polymorphisms due to incomplete lineage sorting, hybridization leading to homoploidy (without chromosome doubling) and alloploidy (for C. arabica) are involved in the evolutionary history of the coffee species. While sharing similar morphological characteristics, the genetic relationships within C. canephora have shown that some populations are well differentiated and genetically isolated. Given the position of its closely-related species, we may also consider C. canephora to be undergoing a long process of speciation with an intermediate step of (sub-)speciation.
Journal: Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
ISSN: 1055-7903
Volume: 151
Publication year:2020