The Neogene geomorphologic events and Quaternary paleoclimatic cycles contribution to Neotropical species diversification has been a recurrent debate theme on the literature. The current scattered distribution pattern of xeric vegetation enclaves at the Cerrado domain is presumably the result of these events, since present vegetation fragments could be relicts from a broader past distribution. However, studies on taxa associated with these areas are very scarce, making it difficult to gain insights on its diversification history. This lack of studies is partly due to low availability of molecular markers with appropriate phylogenetic signal on recent divergence plant species. The distribution of Cactaceae from PILOSOCEREUS AURISETUS group is associated with these enclaves in northeast, center-east and southeast Brazil. The group taxonomic history is extremely unstable, reflecting species morphologic variation complexity. On the present project, anonymous nuclear markers will be isolated for P. AURISETUS group from Next-Generation Sequencing genomic data. These nuclear markers will be used upon a extensive sampling over the whole taxonomic and morphologic variation of this species group. The genomic data will also be used directly to test previously developed hypothesis about the species diversification history.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: