Testing the large genome constraint hypothesis: plant traits, habitat and climate seasonality in Liliaceae.New Phytol 2016; 210(2):709-16NP
The factors driving genome size evolution in Liliaceae were examined. In particular, we investigated whether species with larger genomes are confined to less stressful environments with a longer vegetative season. We tested our hypotheses by correlating the genome size with other plant traits and environmental variables. To determine the adaptive nature of the genome size, we also compared the performances of Brownian motion (BM) processes with those inferred by Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) models of trait evolution. A positive correlation of genome size with plant size, mean temperature and habitat moisture and a negative correlation with altitude and precipitation seasonality were found. Models of trait evolution revealed a deviation from a drift process or BM. Instead, changes in genome size were significantly associated with precipitation regimes according to an OU process. Specifically, the evolutionary optima towards which the genome size evolves were higher for humid climates and lower for drier ones. Taken together, our results indicate that the genome size increase in Liliaceae is constrained by climate seasonality.