Mediterranean pines represent an extremely heterogeneous assembly. Although they have evolved under similar environmental conditions, they diversified long ago, ca. 10. Mya, and present distinct biogeographic and demographic histories. Therefore, it is of special interest to understand whether and to what extent they have developed specific strategies of adaptive evolution through time and space. To explore evolutionary patterns, the Mediterranean pines' phylogeny was first reconstructed analyzing a new set of 21 low-copy nuclear genes with multilocus Bayesian tree reconstruction methods. Secondly, a phylogenetic approach was used to search for footprints of natural selection and to examine the evolution of multiple phenotypic traits. We identified two genes (involved in pines' defense and stress responses) that have likely played a role in the adaptation of Mediterranean pines to their environment. Moreover, few life-history traits showed historical or evolutionary adaptive convergence in Mediterranean lineages, while patterns of character evolution revealed various evolutionary trade-offs linking growth-development, reproduction and fire-related traits. Assessing the evolutionary path of important life-history traits, as well as the genomic basis of adaptive variation is central to understanding the past evolutionary success of Mediterranean pines and their future response to environmental changes. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
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