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Hybridization rate and genotypic diversity of apomictic hybrids between native (Taraxacum japonicum) and introduced (T. officinale) dandelions in western Japan

Matsuyama, Shuhei, Morimoto, Miki, Harata, Tsuyoshi, Nanami, Satoshi, Itoh, Akira
Conservation genetics 2018 v.19 no.1 pp. 181-191
Taraxacum officinale, backcrossing, flowers, genetic analysis, genetic variation, habitats, hybridization, hybrids, indigenous species, introduced species, microsatellite repeats, parks, tetraploidy, Japan
Hybridization between the introduced and native plants may enhance invasiveness, especially in asexually reproducing species. Hybrid apomictic dandelions between native (Taraxacum platycarpum and T. japonicum) and exotic (T. officinale) species are distributed widely throughout Japan. To estimate the origin(s) and dispersal of the hybrids, we investigated the hybridization rate and genotypic diversity in mixed populations of T. japonicum, T. officinale and their hybrids at two green parks in western Japan. Among the plants identified as exotics from flower morphology, 86–96% were hybrids by genetic analysis. Genetic data with simple sequence repeat markers revealed a high clonal diversity of the hybrid both within and between populations, indicating multiple origins. A hybrid seed was found from among the 1891 seeds collected from T. japonicum in the parks, indicating ongoing hybridization in the field. T. officinale and hybrids were genetically differentiated between the two parks independent of the ploidy level; the allele frequency of T. officinale and tri- and tetraploid hybrids were similar within each park but different between the two parks. This suggests that the origins of hybrids were similar within the park but different between the parks. Overall, our results suggest that hybridization, including backcross, is an ongoing process, and that genetically diverse hybrids with various origins have been spreading in western Japan, probably because hybridization enhanced invasiveness at native habitat.