Slipper orchid evolution: does anyone care?

Discussion in 'Taxonomy' started by VAAlbert, Dec 6, 2006.

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  1. Dec 6, 2006 #1

    VAAlbert

    VAAlbert

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    Hi all,

    I saw a post somewhere in another thread that stated something to the effect that the various and sundry details of evolution and 'precise' taxonomy of the slippers wasn't so important to him/her, since he/she felt him/herself more of a horticulturalist. Pls. correct me if I'm wrong!

    Well, I'll bet that some of you out there are interested in slipper orchid evolution, like I am. I'd love to discuss issues from hobbyist to advanced levels. My previous work with slippers has been in molecular phylogenetics and taxonomy; my present research includes evolutionary developmental genetics (the study of the genes behind morphological features) and comparative genomics (evolutionary studies of large numbers of genes among species and what they tell us). Plus some molecular phylogenetics, currently in the mint family.

    Best wishes,

    Vic.
     
  2. Dec 6, 2006 #2

    Mark

    Mark

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    "does anyone care?"

    I do.
     
  3. Dec 6, 2006 #3

    kentuckiense

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    Evolutionary biology fanatic checking in!
     
  4. Dec 6, 2006 #4

    NYEric

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    I would be interested in a summation or short version. [I have the attention span of a gnat.] I worked for a religious man who stated that evolution did not happen!!! Scary.
     
  5. Dec 6, 2006 #5

    slippertalker

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    I would be interested in your ideas. Most of us are not taxonomists or experts at molecular studies but are interested in the concepts of evolution in orchids. Bring it on!
     
  6. Dec 6, 2006 #6

    Ernie

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    Sign me up too.

    -Ernie
     
  7. Dec 6, 2006 #7

    gore42

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    I certainly care!

    - Matthew Gore
     
  8. Dec 6, 2006 #8

    gonewild

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    Are your studies and research focused on evolution between species or are you looking at hybrids also?

    Can you separate the different species or their hybrids by looking at their genes?
     
  9. Dec 6, 2006 #9

    VAAlbert

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    Glad to see the interest! Evolution matters, cause its products leave us with plants that want taxonomies.

    Re: my present research, it isn't on slippers - I may have given the wrong impression through some twisted English. But the principles are basically the same as if I were studying orchids, the legume family, insects, or mammals.

    So, I am doing genomic-scale work at the species level among the Hawaiian endemic mints. I am involved in genomics studies at a much higher level as well, involving the role that whole-genome duplications (all genes at once!, i.e., polyploidy) might have had to do with the evolution of flowers. (For example, it is known that ray-finned fish -- the bony ones -- are 'paleo'polyploids, and this group of fish is the most diverse vertebrate group on Earth; idea = that having extra copies of whole genomes opens up opportunity for evolutionary 'flexibility'). I am also doing molecular developmental work on the cut-flower crop Gerbera, in the sunflower family. In that family, we have the unique opportunity to look at the genetics of flower morphological differences within the SAME GENOTYPE, since the flowering heads of Gerbera bear different flower types (female-only and with a highly expanded petal 'lip', female-only with only moderately expanded petals, and male/female with short petals not really lipped).

    Just for fun, you can see some background on these subjects at the following links:

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2229/6/16
    folk.uio.no/victoraa/Cui_2006.pdf
    folk.uio.no/victoraa/Teeri_BioEssays_2006.pdf

    Warning! These are highly technical works!

    I'm very happy to try to get any thread going that any of you may be interested in re: slipper evolution. And, no real need for high tech talk at all.

    Best wishes,

    Vic
     
  10. Dec 6, 2006 #10

    VAAlbert

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    Forgot to mention that I don't directly intend to work on hybrids, but that I do by necessity among the Hawaiian mints, which like to spread their genes around sometimes.

    V
     
  11. Dec 6, 2006 #11

    gonewild

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    Is your work on Gerbera also at the specie level?
     
  12. Dec 6, 2006 #12

    gonewild

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    Great! In low tech talk.....

    Are all slipper orchids evolved from a single slipper ancestor?
     
  13. Dec 6, 2006 #13

    kentuckiense

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    This is awesome! Thanks!

    Anyway, my main interests are in the following:

    1. The biogeography of the genus, especially in terms of species pairs (reginae and flavum, arietinum and plectrochilum, californicum and subtropicum, etc.)

    2. The parallel morphology of the 'basal' clades: Parvisepalum Paphs, Micropetalum Phrags, most Cyps(save guttatum and yatabeanum), Mexipedium, and Selenipedium. You know, the inturned labellum folds, etc.
     
  14. Dec 6, 2006 #14

    VAAlbert

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    No, we use only one variety, Terra Regina, in our work.

    V
     
  15. Dec 6, 2006 #15

    VAAlbert

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    Absolutely. For sure. No doubt about it!

    If we think about the slipper family tree, we can imagine the slipper 'common ancestor' had leaves something like a Selen or a Cyp, and flowers like most Cyps (inflated pouches), parvi Paphs, micropetalum Phrags, and Mexipedium. Paph, Phrag, and Mex all have a common ancestor of their own, but we're still not clear on the branching order betw. these three genera.

    V
     
  16. Dec 6, 2006 #16

    VAAlbert

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    Great! Re: 1., quite a number of other plants have this N. America/Asia disjunction. No surprises at all there if the species named are really sister pairs.

    Re: 2., I've gone into this a little before, and can say a little now based on the anatomical sequence one sees in developing buds of these slips and others that have different pouch types. Suffice it to say that the other pouch types (e.g., Barbata paphs, Lorifolia Phrags, and Cyp guttatum -- each in a different way) can all be pretty easily derived as showing different developmental stages *beyond* what one sees in the inflated-pouch type, the morphological development of which simply *stops* at that stage.

    Best again,

    Vic
     
  17. Dec 6, 2006 #17

    silence882

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    I am interested as well!

    One issue I have been wondering about is how molecular phylogenetics deals with placing species that may have arisen from a population of natural hybrids?

    For example, Paph. hangianum may have started as a natural hybrid between Paph. emersonii and Paph. malipoense and then evolved into the 'current' species. If this were the case, how would Paph. hangianum fit into a cladogram?

    --Stephen
     
  18. Dec 6, 2006 #18

    kentuckiense

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    So would you tend to chalk that one up to converging/diverging pollination syndromes? IE: the species that have been hypothesized to to mimic other rewarding plants (Paph. micranthum looking like a Rhododendron, etc.) have infolded labellums to trap entering bees while the others (Most non-Parvi Paphs) are structured in order to facilitate flies slipping into the labellum?
     
  19. Dec 6, 2006 #19

    VAAlbert

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    Perhaps not very well at all, unless the potential hybridization event took place long enough ago for genetic variation to have 'sorted' itself out. And this sorting out can indeed be analyzed at the population genetic level.

    V
     
  20. Dec 6, 2006 #20

    kentuckiense

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    We talked about that in class a while back. That concept was one of the reasons why Cronquist was opposed to a PURE monophyletic taxonomy of plants. Most taxonomists don't even want to think about the amount of plants that arose from polyploid hybrid ancestry, no?
     

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