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Abstract Detail


Colloquia: Emerging Results from Studies of Gymnosperms on the Tree of Life II

Schwarzbach, Andrea E. [1].

The evolution of terpenes in the genus Juniperus (Cupressaceae).

Terpenes comprise the largest group of natural plant compounds with more than 30,000 different structures described to date. Many terpenes are giving foods characteristic aromas, cleaners their scent or are of medicinal value. Most all plants including Cupressaceae are producing a mixture of many different terpenes, often several dozens or more. In many cases one or a few terpenes are dominant whereas the largest number are only present in small amounts. Despite some variation found due to interactions with the environment the terpene composition seems to be somewhat specific for individual taxa and tissues. Very few studies have looked at the evolution of terpenes beyond individual model organisms mostly due to difficulties of coding those non-discrete and highly variable character complexes. We have dissected the individual metabolic pathways to better understand the evolution of the individual patterns. The largest genus within Cupressaceae, Juniperus, was used as an example to test different coding schemes. The terpene composition for nearly all Juniperus species are well studied and molecular phylogenetic data for the genus are available. This allowed us to explore different strategies for directly coding characters for tree analyses as well as plotting terpene information onto the molecular tree topology.

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1 - The University of Texas-Brownsville, Department of Biological Sciences, 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, TX, 78520, USA

Keywords:
Cupressaceae
gymnosperms
terpenes
Juniperus.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C2
Location: Ballroom C/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: C2012
Abstract ID:546


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