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Extensive variation in the levels of genetic diversity and degree of relatedness among five species of Cypripedium (Orchidaceae)

Extensive variation in the levels of genetic diversity and degree of relatedness among five species of Cypripedium (Orchidaceae)

American Journal of Botany 81(2): 175-184

An electrophoretic analysis of allozyme variation from 14 loci in Cypripedium calceolus, C. candidum, C. arietinum, C. acaule, and C. reginae was conducted to address evolutionary conclusions reached in prior studies on the Orchidaceae. The following specific questions were examined: 1) Do the allozyme data suggest that C. arietinum be transferred to the genus Criosanthes? 2) Do Cypripedium populations contain unusually low levels of genetic variation relative to other angiosperms with comparable life histories? and 3) Is the distribution of genetic variation among populations consistent with the idea that evolutionary processes produce higher levels of among-population differentiation in the Orchidaceae? Very low Nei's genetic identities (0.000-0.285) were found for most species comparisons; however, C. arietinum was not the most genetically distinct taxon and should be retained in the genus Cypripedium. Although most Cypripedium populations contain very low levels of expected heterozygosity, C. calceolus contains unusually high levels in all populations examined. Most species examined here have below average levels of variation distributed among populations. This result indicates that evolutionary processes produce relatively lower, not higher, levels of genetic differentiation among Cypripedium populations compared to other flowering plants. Historical events that could have influenced the observed genetic patterns are discussed. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. .

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Accession: 002379254

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DOI: 10.2307/2445631

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