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A combined molecular and morphological approach to the taxonomically intricate European mountain plant Papaver alpinum s.l. (Papaveraceae) — taxa or informal phylogeographical groups?

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Abstract:

Papaver alpinum s.l. is an extraordinarily polymorphic taxon distributed throughout southern and central European mountain ranges. We tested previous hypotheses about relationships and taxonomical status of the numerous described taxa within this species or species group by applying different molecular approaches. In addition we re-evaluated morphological characters used in previous taxonomic treatments in the light of the molecular results. The ancestral sequence haplotypes were widespread and dominant throughout the Alps, whereas peripheral populations in other mountain ranges were often characterised by haplotypes directly derived from the central haplotypes involving one or two mutational steps. The AFLP data corroborated the pattern of a 'centrifugal radiation' and additionally showed that most populations were genetically distinct, presumably due to the effect of genetic drift in small and isolated populations. The morphological data did not reveal clear patterns of variation; only the Pyrenean and Sierra Nevada populations differed in two non-overlapping and presumably independent characters. Altogether, our study implies that most previous taxonomic concepts of P. alpinum s. l. were highly artificial, and that either nearly all populations have to be raised to some taxonomic rank or that, preferably, no infraspecific taxa should be recognised at all. The only segregate possibly deserving taxonomic rank, based on both morphology and genetics, is the Iberian P. alpinum subsp. lapeyrousianum.

Keywords: AFLPS; CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN EUROPEAN MOUNTAIN RANGES; LOW-COPY NUCLEAR REGION RPA2; MORPHOLOGY; PAPAVER ALPINUM S. L; PHYLOGEOGRAPHY; PLASTID REGION PSBE - PETL; TAXONOMY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biogeography and Botanical Garden, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria 2: National Centre for Biosystematics, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P. O. Box 1172 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway; Icelandic Institute of Natural History, P. O. Box 180, 602 Akureyri, Iceland

Publication date: November 1, 2009

iapt/tax/2009/00000058/00000004/art00020
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