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Genetic variation and relationships among Ulex (Fabaceae) species in southern Spain and northern Morocco assessed by chloroplast microsatellite (cpSSR) markers

Cubas, Paloma, Pardo, Cristina, Tahiri, Hikmat
American journal of botany 2005 v.92 no.12 pp. 2031-2043
Ulex, chloroplast DNA, microsatellite repeats, molecular systematics, genetic variation, population genetics, haplotypes, phylogeny, polyploidy, interspecific hybridization, genetic markers, Spain, Morocco
Genetic variation in 27 populations of Ulex species from southern Spain and northern Morocco (Betic-Rif arc) was assessed using 11 chloroplast microsatellite (cpSSR) markers, which revealed 47 different haplotypes. These nonrecombinant, haploid markers allow measurement of genetic variation in closely related species of Ulex where molecular phylogenetic analyses have not provided a clear view of interspecific relationships. Discriminant analysis indicates that the haplotypes are useful to differentiate among species, and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) shows high levels of differentiation among populations. The minimum spanning tree (MST), that represents the connections between the haplotypes, suggests that the eastern Rifean U. africanus haplotypes are more genetically related than those from southern Spain. The latter may have lost genetic diversity while colonizing new habitats, eventually differentiating into U. baeticus and U. scaber. Hybridization between these populations, followed by polyploidization, may have originated the tetraploids (U. congestus and U. borgiae) that colonized new habitats associated with acidic rocks. Separate groupings of U. scaber populations may indicate multiple origins from different stocks. Diversification in this group of Ulex species could be related to the opening of the Alboran Sea by Middle Miocene, when the populations from Morocco and Spain became isolated from each other.