Twenty-four accessions of Ipomoea, representing 13 species of section Batatas and the outgroup species I. gracilis and I. pes-caprae were analyzed for restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Polymorphisms were detected by probing Southern blots of restriction enzyme-digested genomic DNA with 20 low or moderate copy number sequences isolated from an I. batatascv. Georgia Red genomic library. Data were analyzed cladistically and phenetically. Ipomoea trifida, I. tabascana, and collection K233 are, of the materials examined, the most closely related to sweetpotato (I. batatas). Ipomoea littoralis, the only Old World species in the section, is a sister species to I. tiliacea. Ipomoea littoralis, I. umbraticola, I. peruviana, I. cynanchifolia, and I. gracilis are shown to be diploid (2n = 2x = 30). In contrast, I. tabascana is tetraploid (2n = 4x = 60). The intrasectional relationships of section Batatas species and the role of tetraploid related species in the evolution of the cultivated I. batatas are discussed.
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