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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Reproductive Biology Influences the Partitioning of Genetic Variation Within and Among Populations of Native Grasses
Year: 2005
Author(s): Huff, D. R., Palazzo, A. J., van der Grinten, M.
Source Title: Proceedings of the 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 76-77
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Genetic variation was surveyed within and between native populations of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash [ = Andropogon scoparius Michx.]) and Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus L.), using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. The native populations of each species included collections from both northeastern and midwestern regions within the United States. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) technique showed that little bluestem populations were highly variable within populations, whereas Virginia wild rye populations were relatively uniform within populations. Furthermore, when the two species were compared, an interesting relationship was observed between the genetic distance among populations and the geographic origin of the populations. Little bluestem exhibited a positive correlation, and thus its populations became more genetically different the further populations were separated by geographical distance. Virginia wild rye populations lacked such correlation, and thus populations between widely separated regions could exhibit genetic relationships that were, in some cases, more similar than populations within a region. Partitioning of genetic variability within and among populations across regions is, in large part, a function of the breeding system of the species. Little bluestem possesses an open pollinated, out crossing breeding system, whereas Virginia wild rye is a self-pollinated, inbreeding species. Thus, the reproductive biology of native plants governs the genetic structure observed among populations within a species. As such, a speciesí reproductive biology is a vitally important parameter to consider when replenishing or replacing locally adapted gene pools.
Publisher: The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, Lexington, Kentucky
Editor(s): T. G. Barnes