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Evolution. 2000 Oct;54(5):1566-79.

Phylogeographic patterns and high levels of chloroplast DNA diversity in four Packera (asteraceae) species in southwestern Alberta.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.


Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) haplotype variation is compared among alpine and prairie/montane species of Packera from a region in southwestern Alberta that straddles the boundary of Pleistocene glaciation. The phylogeny of the 15 haplotypes identified reveals the presence of two groups: one generally found in coastal and northern species and the other from species in drier habitats. The presence of both groups in all four species and most populations from southwestern Alberta is evidence of past hybridization involving species or lineages that may no longer be present in the region. With the exception of the alpine P. subnuda (phiST = 1.0), interpopulational subdivision of haplotype variation is low (phiST < 0.350), suggesting that interpopulational gene flow is high. However, based on haplotype distribution patterns, we propose that Pleistocene hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting have resulted in reduced subdivision of interpopulational variation so that gene flow may not be as high as indicated. Drift has been more important in the alpine species populations, especially P. subnuda.

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