Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Ultra-barcoding of 154 Heliantheae complete chloroplast genomes gives insight into the phylogeny and evolution of the endangered sunflower, Helianthus schweinitzii Public Deposited

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  • Asteraceae is considered the largest plant family, in terms of named species, with more than 1,620 genera and 23,600 described species of plants distributed worldwide. The genus Helianthus is native to North America and gives the name to the tribe Heliantheae, which includes 190 closely related genera. In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted to better understand the evolutionary relationships within the genus Helianthus. However, uncertainties remain within this family surrounding the connections between genomics and conservation. The investigation into Helianthus has the potential to provide more information on future conservation efforts and guide future studies, such as the adaptive capacity a species and constrictions to species distributions. This study presents the assembly of a new chloroplast genome for the endangered sunflower species Helianthus verticillatus and improves upon the assembly and annotation of the chloroplast genomes of several related species, including the endangered species H. schweinitzii and H. paradoxus. Using phylogenetic methods, comparative genomics, and related approaches, the comparison of the chloroplast genomes from these and 151 other members of the Heliantheae tribe clarifies the relationships among species and identifies major evolutionary shifts in the sequence or context of their chloroplast genomes. Additionally, this study provides further analysis into the endangered species Helianthus schweinitzii and its phylogenetic relationships.

Date Awarded
  • 2022-03-28
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Last Modified
  • 2022-04-12
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