Early origins of diversification in the Solanaceae family ($)

gabysolanaceae-copyThe Solanaceae family is, nowadays, one of the most valuable for humankind as it contains several economically important crops as potato, tobacco, tomatoes, etc. However, fossil records that help as understand how and where this family has evolved are elusive. In this paper, Wilf et al. walk us through the identification of a new Physalis species (Physalis infinemundi) from two fossilized lantern fruits discovered in Argentina’s Patagonia, which pre-date the suggested origin dates for the family (now, at least 52.2-million-year-old). Their results also suggest these plants have evolved under a completely different environment from the one proposed by their corresponding molecular dates (post-Gondwanan breakup), pointing out to the importance of other factors like the presence of herbivores in the evolution of this family. (Summary by Gaby Auge) Science, doi:10.1126/science.aag2737

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