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Perez-Escobar, Oscar Alejandro; Chomicki, Guillaume; Condamine, Fabien L.; Vos, Jurriaan M. de; Martins, Aline C.; Smidt, Eric C.; Klitgard, Bente; Gerlach, Gunter; Heinrichs, Jochen (2017): Multiple Geographical Origins of Environmental Sex Determination enhanced the diversification of Darwin's Favourite Orchids. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 12878
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Abstract

Environmental sex determination (ESD) -a change in sexual function during an individual life span driven by environmental cues - is an exceedingly rare sexual system among angiosperms. Because ESD can directly affect reproduction success, it could influence diversification rate as compared with lineages that have alternative reproductive systems. Here we test this hypothesis using a solid phylogenetic framework of Neotropical Catasetinae, the angiosperm lineage richest in taxa with ESD. We assess whether gains of ESD are associated with higher diversification rates compared to lineages with alternative systems while considering additional traits known to positively affect diversification rates in orchids. We found that ESD has evolved asynchronously three times during the last similar to 5 Myr. Lineages with ESD have consistently higher diversification rates than related lineages with other sexual systems. Habitat fragmentation due to mega-wetlands extinction, and climate instability are suggested as the driving forces for ESD evolution.