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Target sequence capture of nuclear‐encoded genes for phylogenetic analysis in ferns

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Premise of the study

Until recently, most phylogenetic studies of ferns were based on chloroplast genes. Evolutionary inferences based on these data can be incomplete because the characters are from a single linkage group and are uniparentally inherited. These limitations are particularly acute in studies of hybridization, which is prevalent in ferns; fern hybrids are common and ferns are able to hybridize across highly diverged lineages, up to 60 million years since divergence in one documented case. However, it not yet clear what effect such hybridization has on fern evolution, in part due to a paucity of available biparentally inherited (nuclear-encoded) markers.


We designed oligonucleotide baits to capture 25 targeted, low-copy nuclear markers from a sample of 24 species spanning extant fern diversity.


Most loci were successfully sequenced from most accessions. Although the baits were designed from exon (transcript) data, we successfully captured intron sequences that should be useful for more focused phylogenetic studies. We present phylogenetic analyses of the new target sequence capture data and integrate these into a previous transcript-based data set.


We make our bait sequences available to the community as a resource for further studies of fern phylogeny.

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