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  • Author or Editor: Amanda J. Hershberger x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Despite the ecologic and ornamental potential of southeastern U.S. native Spigelia, little is known about the intraspecific or the interpopulation genetic variation. The southeastern U.S. native Spigelia habitat is becoming more and more fragmented as a result of human activity, making it imperative to gain an understanding of natural genetic variation among and within species and populations for the purpose of obtaining variability for plant breeding and preserve the genetic variability in Spigelia. Therefore, the objective of this study was to use amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis to determine interspecific and intraspecific genetic variation and to evaluate gene flow. Thirteen populations of two species of native Spigelia, S. marilandica (SM), S. gentianoides var. gentianoides (SGG), and S. gentianoides var. alabamensis (SGA), were analyzed using four primer pairs that amplified a total of 269 bands. Based on analysis of molecular variance and estimates of Nei’s coefficients of gene diversity (percentage of polymorphic loci, average genetic diversity within populations, average genetic diversity within species, and proportion of species genetic diversity attributed to among population variation), the majority of variation found in Spigelia occurs within populations. Both among-species and among-population variation was low, likely the effect of common ancestry as well as relatively frequent introgression among individuals (and populations) of Spigelia. When all individuals were evaluated using Nei’s unbiased genetic distances and viewed as a unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean phenogram, three main groups were shown, one with two samples of SGG from one population, one with 13 individuals from both SGG populations used in this study, and one with all of the SM, SGA, and remaining SGG individuals. Further evaluation using STRUCTURE software showed introgression between populations and species, although all allele clusters have not entirely introgressed into all populations. The significance of these results is discussed in relation to breeding in Spigelia.

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