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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Fehlberg, Shannon D. [1], Nepal, Madhav P. [2], Ferguson, Carolyn J. [2].

The importance of genetic and cytotype variation in conservation: an example from Phlox (Polemoniaceae).

Information on genetic structure in rare plants, such as patterns of genetic variation, differentiation and gene flow, is useful when planning management strategies for conservation. However, few studies of genetic structure in rare plants include an investigation of intraspecific cytotype variation. A number of reviews have suggested that cytotype variation, or variation in chromosome structure or number, may be more widespread in natural populations than previously thought. Cytotype variation among populations of rare plants raises intriguing questions about the origin, extent, evolutionary relationships, and ecological differentiation of various cytotypes. We initiated an investigation of cytotype variation throughout the genus Phlox (Polemoniaceae) using flow cytometry, including an in depth analysis of genetic and cytotype variation in P. amabilis, a rare plant endemic to ponderosa pine-gambel oak communities in northwestern Arizona. Our results indicate noteworthy variation in ploidy level across the genus, as well as surprising variation in ploidy level within P. amabilis. Populations of this taxon occur as diploids, tetraploids and hexaploids, and ongoing analyses suggest that these populations are spatially, ecologically, and genetically differentiated. Genetic analyses also indicate contemporary or historical gene flow with other species of Phlox. These results caution against the common assumption of homoploidy of species based on limited data and indicate the value of incorporating an understanding of genetic and cytotype variation into conservation studies.

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1 - Desert Botanical Garden, Research, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ, 85008, USA
2 - Kansas State University, Herbarium and Division of Biology, Ackert Hall, Manhattan, Kansas, 66506-4901, USA

cytotype variation
flow cytometry

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 58
Location: Wasatch A/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 8:15 AM
Number: 58002
Abstract ID:455