What is it about?

Three types of markers were employed to clarify the taxonomic status of M. magnolii, M. ciliata subsp. glauca and M. transsilvanica subsp. transsilvanica. This complex has been historically intricate, with conflicting opinions among taxonomists and to date unclear field recognition. RAD sequencing based phylogenetic analyses reveal the monophyletic character of each taxon, which is congruent with morphometric clustering and habitat distinctions.

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Why is it important?

Our results confirm the evolutionary independence of three taxa, often considered as subspecies of Melica ciliata. Morphological information for its field distinction and ecological features are made known, thus contributing to its conservation. Undoubtedly remarkable, the xerophilic habits of this biological model led to autogamy, resulting in restricted interpopulation gene flow, nevertheless still permitting evolution and lineage segregation.


Sampling and sequencing the remaining taxa, especially Melica ciliata subsp. ciliata L., is needed to complete the phylogenetic reconstruction of the entire taxonomic complex (subsection Ciliatae). The biogeographic history and origin of this group remain an open question.

Sergio Castro
University of Strasbourg

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This page is a summary of: RAD sequencing, morphometry and synecology clarify the taxonomy of the Melica ciliata (Poaceae) complex in France and Poland, Journal of Systematics and Evolution, December 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jse.12940.
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