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Am J Bot. 2001 Oct;88(10):1881-7.

Species relationships in Lactuca s.l. (Lactuceae, Asteraceae) inferred from AFLP fingerprints.

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Biosystematics Group, Wageningen University, Generaal Foulkesweg 37, 6703 BL Wageningen, The Netherlands.


An AFLP data set comprising 95 accessions from 20 species of Lactuca s.l. (sensu lato) and related genera was generated using the primer combinations E35/M48 and E35/M49. In phenetic analyses of a data subset, clustering with UPGMA based on Jaccard's similarity coefficient resulted in the highest cophenetic correlation, and the results were comparable to those of a principal coordinates analysis. In analyses of the total data set, phenetic and cladistic analyses showed similar tree topologies for the well-supported parts of the trees. The validity of cladistic analysis of AFLP data is discussed. The results do not support a distinction among the serriola-like species L. sativa, L. serriola, L. dregeana, and L. altaica, which is in line with previous results. Therefore, we postulate that these species are conspecific. The serriola-like species L. aculeata occupies a clearly separate position, making it an ideal outgroup for studies of the closest relatives of L. sativa. The subsect. Lactuca as a group is well supported by our data, but the positions of L. saligna and L. virosa relative to the serriola-like species remain unclear. The close relationship between the sect. Mulgedium species L. tatarica and L. sibirica is corroborated by the present AFLP results and by additional crossability data.

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