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One or more species in the arctic grass genus Dupontia? - a contribution to the Panarctic Flora project

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The grass family (Poaceae) is the largest family of vascular plants in the Arctic. The family includes several species complexes that show high ploidy levels, predominantly reproduce asexually, are poorly morphologically delimited, and have a possible origin within the Arctic area by reticulate evolution. Challenged by work on the Panarctic Flora project and apparent discrepancies in recent taxonomic treatments, we investigated the arctic grass genus Dupontia by molecular and cytogenetic methods. Identical plastid DNA (trnL-F) sequences and very similar AFLP profiles indicated that Dupontia and Arctophila are closely related and that the latter might have been involved in a possible intergeneric hybrid origin of Dupontia. Despite the presence of intraindividual rDNA (ITS) variation in Dupontia indicating an allopolyploid hybrid origin of the genus, it was not possible to predict the second parental species from sequence data or from fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments using genomic probes. Due to lack of sequence divergence within Dupontia, AFLP fingerprinting was applied to investigate whether any genetic subdivision exists within the genus. The data sorted Dupontia first of all according to geography and not to ploidy or morphological characters that have previously been used to discriminate between proposed taxa. The results indicate that the recognition of a single polymorphic species is the best solution for the genus Dupontia.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Natural History Museums and Botanical Garden, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, N-0318 Oslo,Norway. 2: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3DS, U.K. 3: Research Services Division, Canadian Museum of Nature, P.O. Box 3443, Station D. Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4,Canada.

Publication date: 01 May 2004

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