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Genetic differentiation in the Bladder campions,

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Allozyme variation was studied in Swedish populations of Silene vulgaris (a widespread weed), S. uniflora ssp. uniflora (restricted to coastal habitats) and S. uniflora ssp. petraea (endemic to Sweden and confined to open limestone habitats). The taxa are diploid, gynodioecious, perennial herbs and showed high levels of within‐taxon and within‐population gene diversity at four polymorphic loci. Within‐taxon diversity was highest (Htax=0.52) in S. vulgaris and lowest (Htax=0.36) in S. uniflora ssp. uniflora. The weedy S. vulgaris has more alleles than either of the other two taxa and 5 out of a total of 27 alleles are unique to S. vulgaris. Most of the gene diversity within each of the taxa is accounted for by within‐population diversity. The between‐population component of diversity is 10% in S. vulgaris, and 24% and 5%, respectively, in S. uniflora ssp. uniflora and ssp. petraea. Hybrids may occur between S. vulgaris and S. uniflora, but introgression is limited by the species' ecology. Neither allozyme nor distributional data support the suggestion that ssp. petraea is a recent hybrid between S. vulgaris and S. uniflora ssp. uniflora, although an older hybrid origin for ssp. petraea is possible. Patterns of allele frequency variation suggest that there has been some historical gene flow between taxa, outside their present areas of sympatry. It is likely that the two subspecies of S. uniflora, which occur in naturally open habitats, were able to colonize Sweden during the Late Glacial or early post‐glacial, whereas S. vulgaris followed the spread of agriculture into Sweden.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Department of Genetics, Uppsala University, Box 7003, S- 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 1997-08-01

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