A program of research named Towards an Integrative Biology (TAIB) has recently been promoted by the International Union of Biological Sciences, involving multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. Studies of Miscanthus plants which emphasized the TAIB theme were undertaken. Miscanthus species are the most widely distributed and dominant species in Taiwan, growing everywhere from the coastal to mountainous areas, and from agricultural to polluted land. Particularly, the grasses grow well in habitats under environmental stresses. Physiological and genetic adaptations are fundamental mechanisms for these grasses' survival in stressful environments. Findings based on field measurements and laboratory analyses were able to elucidate some of the mechanisms of grasses adapted to stressful environments. Adaptive radiation occurred when most niches were open during the postglacial periods. Particularly, population discontinuity of the grasses was found on the Orchid and Green islets of Taiwan. Likewise, Miscanthus sinensis var. glaber and var. formosanus occupied lands from low to middle elevations of Taiwan, while Miscanthus transmorrisonensis appeared in the highlands above 2400m. Phylogenetically, Miscanthus has evolved into various ecotypes, varieties and species in Taiwan as well as in other parts of Asia. The grass then evolved into Miscanthus floridulus, M. sinensis var. formosanus, Miscanthus flavidus, then to M. transmorrisonensis. Furthermore, the phylogeny of the Miscanthus sinensis complex of Taiwan was reconstructed by cladistic analysis on nucleotide sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacers (nrDNA ITS) region and atpB-rbcL non-coding spacer of the chloroplast DNA. Rooted at M. floridulus the monophyly of M. sineneis was significantly supported by molecular evidence. The origin of this complex could be dated to the last glacial withdrawal about 20 000 years ago.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science