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Heredity (Edinb). 2003 Nov;91(5):465-74.

Absence of geographical structure of chloroplast DNA variation in sallow, Salix caprea L.

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  • 1Department of Conservation Biology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18 D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


In the present study, we have used PCR-RFLP markers to investigate the chloroplast DNA variation in 24 European populations of Salix caprea L. A subset of these populations has also been analysed with chloroplast microsatellites. The main feature of both markers is the absence of a clear geographic structure (G(ST(PCR-RFLP))=0.090, G(ST(microsatellites))=-0.017) and high levels of variation within populations. This lack of phylogeographic structure in S. caprea is suggested to be the consequence of the joint action of several factors: (i) presence of intermediate latitude refugia with large population sizes during the last glacial maximum, (ii) a high speed of recolonisation and dispersal ability, (iii) a high mutation rate and (iv) extensive hybridisation with other willow species. In addition to the S. caprea samples, a limited number of individuals from several other Salix species were also analysed with PCR-RFLP: S. cinerea, S. aurita, S. purpurea, S. atrocinerea, S. appendiculata, S. elaeagnos, S. fragilis and S. alba. Many of the haplotypes found in Salix caprea were also detected in S. cinerea, S. aurita, S. purpurea, S. atrocinerea and/ or S. appendiculata but not in S. alba, S. elaeagnos or S. fragilis. Our data suggest that hybridisation and gene flow have occurred within these two groups but not between them.

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