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Genetic relationships within and among Iberian fescues (Festuca L.) based on PCR-amplified markers

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The genus Festuca comprises approximately 450 species and is widely distributed around the world. The Iberian Penninsula, with more than 100 taxa colonizing very diverse habitats, is one of its main centers of diversification. This study was conducted to assess molecular genetic variation and genetic relatedness among 91 populations of 31 taxa of Iberian fescues, based on several molecular markers (random amplified polymorphic DNA, amplified fragment length polymorphisms, and trnL sequences). The analyses showed the paraphyletic origin of the broad-leaved (subgenus Festuca, sections Scariosae and Subbulbosae, and subgenus Schedonorus) and the fine-leaved fescues (subgenus Festuca, sections Aulaxyper, Eskia, and Festuca). Schedonorus showed a weak relationship with Lolium rigidum and appeared to be the most recent of the broad-leaved clade. Section Eskia was the most ancient and Festuca the most recent of the fine-leaved clade. Festuca and Aulaxyper were the most related sections, in concordance with their taxonomic affinities. All taxa grouped into their sections, except F. ampla and F. capillifolia (section Festuca), which appeared to be more closely related to Aulaxyper and to a new independent section, respectively. Most populations clustered at the species level, but some subspecies and varieties mixed their populations. This study demonstrated the value in combining different molecular markers to uncover hidden genetic relationships between populations of Festuca.

Le genre Festuca comprend environ 450 espèces et il est largement répandu dans le monde. L’Ibérie, avec plus de 100 taxons occupant des habitats très différents, constitue un des principaux centres de diversification. Cette étude a été réalisée pour évaluer la variation génétique moléculaire et le degré de parenté génétique entre 91 populations appartenant à 31 taxons de fétuques ibériennes à l’aide de plusieurs types de marqueurs moléculaires (RAPD, AFLP et des séquences de trnL). Ces études ont révélé une origine paraphylétique des fétuques «à feuilles larges» (sous-genre Festuca, sections Scariosae et Subbulbosae ainsi que le sous-genre Schedonorus) des fétuques «à feuilles étroites» (sous-genre Festuca, sections Aulaxyper, Eskia et Festuca). Le sous-genre Schedonorus montre une relation étroite avec le Lolium rigidum et semble le plus récent au sein du clade «à feuilles larges». La section Eskia est la plus ancienne et la section Festuca la plus récente au sein du clade «à feuilles étroites». Les sections Festuca et Aulaxyper sont les plus apparentées conformément à leurs affinités taxonomiques. Tous les taxons ont été classés au sein de leurs sections à l’exception du F. ampla et du F. capillifolia (section Festuca) qui ont semblé plus proches, respectivement, de la section Aulaxyper et d’une nouvelle section indépendante. La plupart des populations étaient groupées ensemble au niveau de l’espèce, mais certaines sous-espèces et variétés étaient entremêlées. Cette étude démontre l’utilité de combiner différents types de marqueurs pour élucider les relations génétiques cachées entre les populations de Festuca.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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  • From its inception in 1957, this international cytogenetics journal has catered to the research areas of the members of the Genetics Society of Canada; traditionally, these have included agriculture, entomology, genetics/cytogenetics, and evolutionary mechanisms. The contents of the journal have evolved as contributors developed new technologies and interests. A 20-member Editorial Board is composed of scientists from around the world. Reviews and commentary from respected experts are often featured.
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