Molecular and morphological evidence for and against gene flow in sympatric apomicts of the North American Crepis agamic complex (Asteraceae)

Jeannette Whitton, Katrina M. Dlugosch, Christopher J. Sears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study of sympatric populations of closely related plant species often reveals evidence of hybridization. Mechanisms that reduce outcrossing (e.g., selfing, apomixis) may allow co-occurrence without gene flow. In this study, we describe patterns of genetic variation in two contact zones, each comprising three closely related morphological types, that key to three distinct species in the North American Crepis agamic (apomictic) complex. We used RAPD markers to characterize individuals from two sites: one in northern California (Sardine Lookout) and another in northwestern Oregon (Summit Road). At Sardine Lookout, we discerned a total of four multilocus genotypes, two in one species, and one each in the other two species. Our findings suggest that distinct morphological types are maintained by absolute barriers to gene flow at this site. At Summit Road, we found greater genotypic diversity, with a total of 24 genotypes across 30 individuals. One of the morphological types was clearly genetically differentiated from the other two, with no variable markers shared with other species at this site. The two remaining species showed evidence of gene flow, with no unique markers discerning them. Morphological data tend to support this conclusion, with univariate and multivariate analyses indicating a pattern of variation spanning the two species. Taken together, these patterns suggest that contact zones need not represent hybrid zones, and that apomixis can serve as an effective barrier to gene flow that may allow for stable coexistence of close relatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-885
Number of pages9
JournalBotany
Volume86
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Apomixis
  • Contact zone
  • Gene flow
  • Hybridization
  • Multivariate analysis
  • RAPD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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