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  1. Chen, Tsu-Wei ; Long, Stephen P (Ed.)
    Abstract Shape plays a fundamental role in biology. Traditional phenotypic analysis methods measure some features but fail to measure the information embedded in shape comprehensively. To extract, compare and analyse this information embedded in a robust and concise way, we turn to topological data analysis (TDA), specifically the Euler characteristic transform. TDA measures shape comprehensively using mathematical representations based on algebraic topology features. To study its use, we compute both traditional and topological shape descriptors to quantify the morphology of 3121 barley seeds scanned with X-ray computed tomography (CT) technology at 127 μm resolution. The Euler characteristic transform measures shape by analysing topological features of an object at thresholds across a number of directional axes. A Kruskal–Wallis analysis of the information encoded by the topological signature reveals that the Euler characteristic transform picks up successfully the shape of the crease and bottom of the seeds. Moreover, while traditional shape descriptors can cluster the seeds based on their accession, topological shape descriptors can cluster them further based on their panicle. We then successfully train a support vector machine to classify 28 different accessions of barley based exclusively on the shape of their grains. We observe that combining both traditional and topological descriptors classifies barley seeds better than using just traditional descriptors alone. This improvement suggests that TDA is thus a powerful complement to traditional morphometrics to comprehensively describe a multitude of ‘hidden’ shape nuances which are otherwise not detected. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Floral organ size, especially the size of the corolla, plays an important role in plant reproduction by facilitating pollination efficiency. Previous studies have outlined a hypothesized organ size pathway. However, the expression and function of many of the genes in the pathway have only been investigated in model diploid species; therefore, it is unknown how these genes interact in polyploid species. Although correlations between ploidy and cell size have been shown in many systems, it is unclear whether there is a difference in cell size between naturally occurring and synthetic polyploids. To address these questions comparing floral organ size and cell size across ploidy, we use natural and synthetic polyploids of Nicotiana tabacum (Solanaceae) as well as their known diploid progenitors. We employ a comparative transcriptomics approach to perform analyses of differential gene expression, focusing on candidate genes that may be involved in floral organ size, both across developmental stages and across accessions. We see differential expression of several known floral organ candidate genes including ARF2, BIG BROTHER, and GASA/GAST1. Results from linear models show that ploidy, cell width, and cell number positively influence corolla tube circumference; however, the effect of cell width varies by ploidy, and diploids have a significantly steeper slope than both natural and synthetic polyploids. These results demonstrate that polyploids have wider cells and that polyploidy significantly increases corolla tube circumference. 
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  3. Abstract Aim

    Natural selection typically results in the homogenization of reproductive traits, reducing natural variation within populations; thus, highly polymorphic species present unresolved questions regarding the mechanisms that shape and maintain gene flow given a diversity of phenotypes. We used an integrative framework to characterize phenotypic diversity and assess how evolutionary history and population genetics affect the highly polymorphic nature of a California endemic lily.


    California, United States.


    Butterfly mariposa lily,Calochortus venustus(Liliaceae).


    We summarized phenotypic diversity at both metapopulation and subpopulation scales to explore spatial phenotypic distributions. We sampled 174 individuals across the species range representing multiple samples for each population and each phenotype. We used restriction‐site‐associated DNA sequencing (RAD‐Seq) to detect population clusters, gene flow between phenotypes and between populations, infer haplotype networks, and reconstruct ancestral range evolution to infer historical migration and range expansion.


    Polymorphic floral traits within the species such as petal pigmentation and distal spots are geographically structured, and inferred evolutionary history is consistent with a ring species pattern involving a complex of populations having experienced sequential change in genetic and phenotypic variation from the founding population. Populations remain interconnected yet have differentiated from each other along a bifurcating south‐to‐north range expansion, consequently indicating parallel evolution towards the white morphotype in the northern range. Thus, our phylogeographical analyses reveal morphological convergence with population genetic cohesion irrespective of phenotypic diversity.

    Main conclusions

    Phenotypic variation in the highly polymorphicCalochortus venustusis not due to genetic differentiation between phenotypes; rather there is genetic cohesion within six geographically defined populations, some of which maintain a high level of within‐population phenotypic diversity. Our results demonstrate that analyses of polymorphic taxa greatly benefit from disentangling phenotype from genotype at various spatial scales. We discuss results in light of ring species concepts and the need to determine the adaptive significance of the patterns we report.

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