Methods: Observations were performed using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Ancestral states of selected wood and pith characters were reconstructed using an existing molecular phylogeny for Nepenthes and a broader Caryophyllales framework. Pairwise comparisons were assessed for possible relationships between wood anatomy and developmental stages, growth habits, substrates and ecology.
Key Results: Wood anatomy of Nepenthes is diffuse porous, with mainly solitary vessels showing simple, bordered perforation plates and alternate intervessel pits, fibres with distinctly bordered pits (occasionally septate), apotracheal axial parenchyma and co-occurring uni- and multiseriate rays often including silica bodies. Precipitation and growth habit (stem length) are linked with vessel density and multiseriate ray height, while soil type correlates with vessel diameter, vessel element length and maximum ray width. For Caryophyllales as a whole, silica grains, successive cambia and bordered perforation plates are the result of convergent evolution. Peculiar helical sculpturing patterns within various cell types occur uniquely within the insectivorous clade of non-core Caryophyllales.
Conclusions: The wood anatomical variation in Nepenthes displays variation for some characters dependent on soil type, precipitation and stem length, but is largely conservative. The helical-banded fibre-sclereids that mainly occur idioblastically in pith and cortex are synapomorphic for Nepenthes , while other typical Nepenthes characters evolved convergently in different Caryophyllales lineages.
METHOD: An electronic search was performed on Web of science, PubMed, and Scopus. Micro-CT journal studies investigated the root and canal anatomy of permanent double-rooted mandibular first molars were included. Data on study characteristics, objectives of interest, specifications of the studies, and micro-CT specifications were extracted. Risk of bias assessment (ROB) of the included studies was performed using Anatomical Quality Assessment (AQUA) tool. The extracted data were presented in tables and figures to present and synthesise the results. A meta-analysis was performed for the studies related to the prevalence of Vertucci's canal configurations, middle mesial canal (MMC) configurations, and Fan's isthmus types.
RESULTS: Amongst 1358 identified studies, thirty met the inclusion criteria. In terms of the objectives, the selected studies showed high anatomical variability in mandibular first molars. Twenty-two (73%), 25 (83%), and 12 (40%) of the studies reported the population/ethnicity, micro-CT specifications, and ethical approval, respectively. 28 (93%) studies did not disclose the method of sample size estimation. In only 6 (20%) of the studies, the authors had calibrated the assessment approaches. Mostly, a potential ROB was reported in domain 1 (objective(s) and subject characteristics) and domain 3 (methodology characterization). Whilst, low risk was reported in domains 2 (study design), 4 (descriptive anatomy), and 5 (reporting of results). The overall ROB was reported to be ''moderate'' in the vast majority of the studies (27/30). Meta-analysis results showed high levels of heterogeneity among the studies related to MMCs (I2 = 86%) and Fan's isthmus (I2 = 87%). As for the root canal configuration, pooled prevalence showed that Vertucci type IV and type I were the most prevalent in mesial and distal root canals, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Based on moderate risk of bias level of evidence, micro-CT studies have shown wide range of qualitative and quantitative data presentations of the roots and canals in mandibular first molars. Protocol and registration. The protocol of this systematic review was prospectively registered in the Open Science Framework database ( https://osf.io ) on 2022-06-20 with the registration number 10.17605/OSF.IO/EZP7K.