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CactiBiology and Uses$
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Park Nobel

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231573

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231573.001.0001

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution and Systematics

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Evolution and Systematics
Source:
Cacti
Author(s):

Robert S. Wallace

Arthur C. Gibson

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520231573.003.0001

Cactaceae is classified within the order of Caryophyllales and includes approximately 1,600 species of plants. Phylogenetic placement within the Caryophyllales is undisputed, because cacti and other families within the order share synapomorphies or derived characters. An example is the occurrence of betalains, a class of nitrogenous pigments derived from tyrosine. This chapter discusses the evolution of the Cactaceae family, paying special attention to molecular and genetic approaches for analyzing the morphological distinctiveness and monophyly of Cactaceae. It highlights the importance of molecular systematic studies in providing new insights into the origin and diversification of cacti. The combination of molecular, morphological, and biogeographical data provide the best estimate of phylogeny within the Cactaceae and a more reliable source of biological information about this family.

Keywords:   Cactaceae, Caryophyllales, synapomorphies, betalains, evolution, diversification

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