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DNA ploidy-level variation in native and invasive populations of Lythrum salicaria at a large geographical scale

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Abstract Aim 

This study aimed to document precisely the patterns of DNA ploidy variation in the native and secondary ranges of Lythrum salicaria distribution. The hypothesis that species invasiveness had been induced by a switch in ploidy level was addressed. Location 

Europe, Middle East, North America. Methods 

DNA ploidy levels of 1884 progenies of 578+ plants collected at 124 localities were determined by DAPI flow cytometry. Results 

Large cytotype variation (2x, 3x, 4x and 6x) was found across the native area of distribution (64 populations covering 12 European and two Middle Eastern countries). DNA hexaploids were detected for the first time, and rare DNA triploids were reliably confirmed. DNA tetraploids largely prevailed across the native range studied, while DNA diploids and DNA hexaploids were recorded only in Israel and Turkey, respectively. DNA triploid progenies occurred in one population from Hungary (together with DNA tetraploids). Sympatric growth of DNA tetraploids and DNA hexaploids was repeatedly encountered in Turkey. In contrast, cytotype uniformity was a typical feature of the invasive North American plants. Sixty populations, covering 13 states of the USA and provinces of Canada, were characterized by the presence of only DNA tetraploids. Main conclusions 

Several L. salicaria cytotypes (2x, 3x, 4x, 6x) occur in the native range of distribution, with much variation concentrated in the Middle Eastern countries, whereas only DNA tetraploids appeared to occur in North America. Our data show that the invasive spread of North American populations was not triggered by differences in ploidy level. Alternative explanations should be sought.
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Keywords: Cytogeography; DNA ploidy level; Lythrum salicaria; cytotype; distribution; flow cytometry; invasion biology; purple loosestrife

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic 2: Faculty of Agriculture, Biotechnological Centre, University of South Bohemia, Studentská 13, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic 3: Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Zámek 1, CZ-252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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