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Dissimilar molecular and morphological patterns in an introgressed peripheral population of a sand dune species (Armeria pungens, Plumbaginaceae)

AuthorsNieto Feliner, Gonzalo CSIC ORCID ; Rosato, M.; Alegre, Guillermo; San Segundo, P.; Rosselló, Josep A.; Garnatje, Teresa CSIC ORCID ; Garcia, Sònia CSIC ORCID
KeywordsGenome size
Introgressive hybridisation
nrDNA ITS sequences
nrDNA IGS sequences
Plastid capture
Issue DateNov-2019
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationPlant Biology 21(6): 1072-1082 (2019)
AbstractIntrogression is a poorly understood evolutionary outcome of hybridisation because it may remain largely undetected whenever it involves the transfer of small parts of the genome from one species to another. Aiming to understand the early stages of this process, a putative case from the southernmost border of the Armeria pungens range from its congener A. macrophylla is revisited following the discovery of a subpopulation that does not show phenotypic signs of introgression and resembles typical A. pungens. We analysed morphometrics, nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS and plastid DNA (trnL‐trnF) sequences, genome size, 45S and 5S rDNA loci‐FISH data and nrDNA IGS sequences. Within the study site, most individuals match morphologies of either of the two hybridising species, particularly the new subpopulation, with intermediate phenotypes being scarce. This pattern does not fully fit molecular evidence revealing two ITS ribotypes co‐occurring intragenomically in most plants from the study site and one single plastid haplotype. Genome size and structural features of the IGS sequences both indicate that A. pungens from the study site is genetically more similar to its sympatric congener than to the remainder of its conspecifics. Introgression of A. macrophylla into A. pungens and plastid capture explain all the evidence analysed. However, important features to understand the origin and fate of the introgressed population, such as the degree and direction of introgression, which are important for understanding early stages of hybridisation in plants with low reproductive barriers, should be addressed with new data.
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