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Phylogenomics and characterization of organellar genomes of representatives of the Laurencia complex (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta)

Grant number: 22/13278-6
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2023 - April 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Plant Taxonomy
Principal Investigator:Valéria Cassano
Grantee:Valéria Cassano
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Abel Senties Granados ; Claudia Maria Ligia Collado Vides ; Goia de Mattos Lyra ; Mariana Cabral de Oliveira ; Mutue Toyota Fujii


The Laurencia complex is highly diverse in number of genera and species, and it currently comprises eight genera: Laurencia sensu stricto, Osmundea, Chondrophycus, Palisada, Yuzurua, Laurenciella, Ohelopapa and Corynecladia. The complex has a very conflicting taxonomic history, poorly delimited species with great phenotypic plasticity and difficulty in recognizing some closely related genera. Molecular studies have generated important proposals of generic and specific circumscriptions. However, recent phylogenetic analyses using single locus-markers, plastid or mitochondrial DNA Barcode, have revealed incongruities between these markers in specific delimitation, as well as species complexes in different genera. Phylogenetic relationships between genera and species are not well resolved, especially within the genus Laurencia s.s., the most speciose of the complex. Studies on the phylogenomics and genomic organization of the Laurencia complex are extremely scarce worldwide and non-existent in Brazil. This project proposes to generate organellar genomes of representative species of the Laurencia complex, aiming to investigate their evolutionary relationships using phylogenomic analyses. The data generated will constitute a broad and relevant systematic work, involving molecular and also morphological aspects of the Laurencia complex in Brazil and in the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in a clear delimitation of genera and species and in the understanding of their evolutionary relationships. In addition, it will provide valuable input, in a broader context, for comparative approaches to the knowledge of biodiversity and geographic distribution of species in tropical and subtropical regions. Morphological and molecular studies of the Laurencia complex in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean have been carried out in international cooperation projects with Mexico, Spain (Canary Islands), Portugal (Azores Archipelago and Madeira), USA, Venezuela, and Cuba. In the present proposal, we incorporate for the first time genomic analyses as an essential step towards understanding the diversity, geographic distribution, and phylogenetic affinities of this complex in the Atlantic Ocean. (AU)

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