The evolutionary origins of Erigeron trifidus, a rare plant in Alberta

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Burke, Jennifer L.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts and Science, 2005
The present study analyzed the evolutionary history of Erigeron trifidus Hook. by addressing two main questions: 1) Is the current hypothesis of the origin of the species by hybridization between E.compositus and E.lanatus supported by molecular data? and 2)Is the species monophyletic? An analysis of uni-and-biparentally inherited molecular markers from three species throughout the range of E.trifidus yielded data that supports the hybridization hypothesis. First, a restriction site analysis of cpDNA revealed 4 haplotypes. In most cases, cpDNA haplotypes were the same as in E.lanatus, suggesting E.lanatus as the maternal parent. Sequencing and cloning the nuclear ETS region revealed the presence of multiple repeat types in most individuals sampled. This further supports the hybrid origin hypothesis in that E.trifidus contained only repeat types present in one or the other of the putative parents. In addition, E.trifidus displayed the highest percentage of intrainidividual repeat type polymorphism, a common trait of hybrid species. Erigeron trifidus populations collected in the northern region appear to be monophyletic as they all exhibited a particular pattern of repeat type variation, a pattern absent in Ram Mountain and Waterton Lakes National Park populations. As E.lanatus has never been recorded from Ram Mountain, it is likely that the populations identified as E.trifidus are instead a different agamospermous variant of E.compositus. In Waterton Lakes National Park, populations of E.trifidus are thought to be the product of local hybridization but the identity of the putative parents remains uncertain. Therefore, E.trifidus is concluded to be polyphyletic.
viii, 66 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 28 cm.
Dissertations, Academic , Erigeron -- Alberta , Erigeron -- Evolution , Rare plants -- Alberta , Endangered plants -- Prairie Provinces