Replicated Evolution in Plants

James ME, Brodribb T, Wright IJ, Rieseberg LH and Ortiz-Barrientos D

Annual Review of Plant Biology


Similar traits and functions commonly evolve in nature. Here, we explore patterns of replicated evolution across the plant kingdom and discuss the processes responsible for such patterns. We begin this review by defining replicated evolution and the theoretical, genetic, and ecological concepts that help explain it. We then focus our attention on empirical cases of replicated evolution at the phenotypic and genotypic levels. We find that replication at the ecotype level is common, but evidence for repeated ecological speciation is surprisingly sparse. On the other hand, the replicated evolution of ecological strategies and physiological mechanisms across similar biomes appears to be pervasive. We conclude by highlighting where future efforts can help us bridge the understanding of replicated evolution across different levels of biological organization. Earth's landscape is diverse but also repeats itself. Organisms seem to have followed suit.