A phylogeny of Antirrhinum reveals parallel evolution of alpine morphology

Mario Durán-Castillo, Andrew Hudson, Yvette Wilson, David L. Field, Alex D. Twyford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Parallel evolution of similar morphologies in closely related lineages provides insight into the repeatability and predictability of evolution. In the genus Antirrhinum (snapdragons), as in other plants, a suite of morphological characters are associated with adaptation to alpine environments. 

We tested for parallel trait evolution in Antirrhinum by investigating phylogenetic relationships using restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing. We then associated phenotypic information to our phylogeny to reconstruct the patterns of morphological evolution and related this to evidence for hybridisation between emergent lineages. 

Phylogenetic analyses showed that the alpine character syndrome is present in multiple groups, suggesting that Antirrhinum has repeatedly colonised alpine habitats. Dispersal to novel environments happened in the presence of intraspecific and interspecific gene flow. 

We found support for a model of parallel evolution in Antirrhinum. Hybridisation in natural populations, and a complex genetic architecture underlying the alpine morphology syndrome, support an important role of natural selection in maintaining species divergence in the face of gene flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1426-1439
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Early online date1 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Antirrhinum (snapdragons)
  • hybridisation
  • natural selection
  • parallel phenotypic evolution
  • RAD sequencing


Dive into the research topics of 'A phylogeny of Antirrhinum reveals parallel evolution of alpine morphology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this