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Free Content AFLP analyses demonstrate genetic divergence, hybridization, and multiple polyploidization in the evolution of Achillea (Asteraceae-Anthemideae)

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Achillea, a temperate genus of herbaceous allogamous perennials, is a model for evolutionary radiation through hybridization and polyploidization.

AFLP analyses were performed on 300 individuals of 66 populations and 27 taxa/cytotypes, mainly from the polyploid A. millefolium aggregate and its suspected hybrid links with other clades of the genus.

The mosaic genetic structure of hybrids and polyploids is revealed by specific AFLP bands shared with their assumed parents. In E Asia, A. alpina-4x and A. wilsoniana-4x are allotetraploids between A. acuminata-2x (sect. Ptarmica) and A. asiatica-2x (sect. Achillea-A. millefolium agg.). A. virescens-4x is a hybrid species linking A. nobilis agg. and A. millefolium agg. in S Europe. The hybrid swarm A. clypeolata-2x ¥ A. collina-4x recently formed in Bulgaria shows no AFLP bands additive to its parents; by contrast, other more ancient allopolyploids exhibit genetic innovations. Relationships within A. millefolium agg. are complex. Five 2x-taxa, mostly well separated and regressive, are limited to Eurasia; seven 4x- and 6x-taxa are intimately linked by hybridization, are expansive, and through A. asiatica-2x/4x have formed the N American polyploids.

All these results from AFLPs correspond well to other evidence, and indicate a long history of reticulate evolution in Achillea.

New Phytologist (2005) doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2005.01315.x

©New Phytologist (2005)
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Keywords: AFLP; Achillea, Achillea millefolium agg; hybrid speciation; hybridization; polyploidy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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