A higher-level nuclear phylogenomic study of the carrot family (Apiaceae)

James J. Clarkson, Alexandre R. Zuntini, Olivier Maurin, Stephen R. Downie, Gregory M. Plunkett, Antoine N. Nicolas, James F. Smith, Mary Ann E. Feist, Karime Gutierrez, Panagiota Malakasi, Paul Bailey, Grace E. Brewer, Niroshini Epitawalage, Sue Zmarzty, Félix Forest, William J. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Premise: The carrot family (Apiaceae) comprises 466 genera, which include many well-known crops (e.g., aniseed, caraway, carrots, celery, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, and parsnips). Higher-level phylogenetic relationships among subfamilies, tribes, and other major clades of Apiaceae are not fully resolved. This study aims to address this important knowledge gap. Methods: Target sequence capture with the universal Angiosperms353 probe set was used to examine phylogenetic relationships in 234 genera of Apiaceae, representing all four currently recognized subfamilies (Apioideae, Azorelloideae, Mackinlayoideae, and Saniculoideae). Recovered nuclear genes were analyzed using both multispecies coalescent and concatenation approaches. Results: We recovered hundreds of nuclear genes even from old and poor-quality herbarium specimens. Of particular note, we placed with strong support three incertae sedis genera (Platysace, Klotzchia, and Hermas); all three occupy isolated positions, with Platysace resolved as sister to all remaining Apiaceae. We placed nine genera (Apodicarpum, Bonannia, Grafia, Haplosciadium, Microsciadium, Physotrichia, Ptychotis, Tricholaser, Xatardia) that have never previously been included in any molecular phylogenetic study. Conclusions: We provide support for the maintenance of the four existing subfamilies of Apiaceae, while recognizing that Hermas, Klotzschia, and the Platysace clade may each need to be accommodated in additional subfamilies (pending improved sampling). The placement of the currently apioid genus Phlyctidocarpa can be accommodated by the expansion of subfamily Saniculoideae, although adequate morphological synapomorphies for this grouping are yet to be defined. This is the first phylogenetic study of the Apiaceae using high-throughput sequencing methods and represents an unprecedented evolutionary framework for the group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1252-1269
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Angiosperms353
  • Apiales
  • Umbelliferae
  • molecular phylogenetics
  • target sequence capture
  • tree of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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