The case for the continued use of the genus name Mimulus for all monkeyflowers

David B. Lowry, James Sobel, Amy L. Angert, Tia-Lynn Ashman, Robert Leyden Baker, Benjamin K. Blackman, Yaniv Brandvain, Kelsey J.R.P. Byers, Arielle M Cooley, Jennifer M. Coughlan, Michele R. Dudash, Charles B. Fenster, Kathleen G. Ferris, Lila Fishman, Jannice Friedman, Dena L. Grossenbacher, Liza M. Holeski, Christopher T. Ivey, Kathleen M. Kay, Vanessa A. KoellingNicholas J. Kooyers, Courtney J. Murren, Christopher D. Muir, Thomas C. Nelson, Megan L. Peterson, Joshua R Puzey, Michael Rotter, Jeffrey R. Seemann, Jason P. Sexton, Seema N. Sheth, Matthew A. Streisfeld, Andrea L. Sweigart, Alexander Twyford, Mario Vallejo-Marín, John H. Willis, Kevin M. Wright, Carrie A. Wu, Yao-Wu Yuan

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The genus Mimulus is a well-studied group of plant species, which has for decades allowed researchers to address a wide array of fundamental questions in biology (Wu & al. 2008; Twyford & al. 2015). Linnaeus named the type species of Mimulus (ringens L.), while Darwin (1876) used Mimulus (luteus L.) to answer key research questions. The incredible phenotypic diversity of this group has made it the focus of ecological and evolutionary study since the mid-20th century, initiated by the influential work of Clausen, Keck, and Hiesey as well as their students and collaborators (Clausen & Hiesey 1958; Hiesey & al. 1971, Vickery 1952, 1978). Research has continued on this group of diverse taxa throughout the 20th and into the 21st century (Bradshaw & al. 1995; Schemske & Bradshaw 1999; Wu & al. 2008; Twyford & al. 2015; Yuan 2019), and Mimulus guttatus was one of the first non-model plants to be selected for full genome sequencing (Hellsten & al. 2013). Mimulus has played a key role in advancing our general understanding of the evolution of pollinator shifts (Bradshaw & Schemske 2003; Cooley & al. 2011; Byers & al. 2014), adaptation (Lowry & Willis 2010; Kooyers & al. 2015; Peterson & al. 2016; Ferris & Willis 2018; Troth & al. 2018), speciation (Ramsey & al. 2003; Wright & al. 2013; Sobel & Streisfeld 2015; Zuellig & Sweigart 2018), meiotic drive (Fishman & Saunders 2008), polyploidy (Vallejo-Marín 2012; Vallejo-Marín & al. 2015), range limits (Angert 2009; Sexton et al. 2011; Grossenbacher & al. 2014; Sheth & Angert 2014), circadian rhythms (Greenham & al. 2017), genetic recombination (Hellsten & al. 2013), mating systems (Fenster & Ritland 1994; Dudash & Carr 1998; Brandvain & al. 2014) and developmental biology (Moody & al. 1999; Baker & al. 2011, 2012; Yuan 2019). This combination of a rich history of study coupled with sustained modern research activity is unparalleled among angiosperms. Across many interested parties, the name Mimulus therefore takes on tremendous biological significance and is recognizable not only by botanists, but also by zoologists, horticulturalists, naturalists, and members of the biomedical community. Names associated with a taxonomic group of this prominence should have substantial inertia, and disruptive name changes should be avoided. As members of the Mimulus community, we advocate retaining the genus name Mimulus to describe all monkeyflowers. This is despite recent nomenclature changes that have led to a renaming of most monkeyflower species to other genera.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date15 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2019


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