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Evolution of populus nigra section aigeiros introgressive hybridization and the chloroplast contribution of populus alba section populus

Evolution of populus nigra section aigeiros introgressive hybridization and the chloroplast contribution of populus alba section populus

American Journal of Botany 77(9): 1176-1187

ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9122

DOI: 10.2307/2444628

Restriction site variation in chloroplast DNA and nuclear ribosomal DNA was examined in 16 accessions from the Salicaceae comprising ten species of Populus and one outgroup species of Salix. Forty-nine restriction site mutations in the chloroplast DNAs were used to generate one most parsimonious phylogenetic tree. This tree indicates that all varieties of P. nigra (black poplars of sect. Aigerios) have a chloroplast genome, maternally inherited, derived from the clade including the white polars (P. alba and segregate species of sect. Populus) and divergent from the American cottonwoods of their own section. Twenty-one restriction site mutations in the nuclear ribosomal DNAs generated a single most parsimonious phylogenetic tree that indicates that the nuclear genome of P. nigra is distinct from both the white poplars and American cottonwoods. The incongruity of these independent molecular phylogenies provides evidence for an unusual origin of the black poplars. Populus alba or its immediate ancestor acted as the maternal part in a hybridization event with the paternal lineage of P. nigra. Subsequent backcrosses to the paternal species gave rise to the extant P. nigra with a chloroplast genome of P. alba and the nuclear genome of the paternal species. These hybridization and introgression events must have pre-dated the divergence of the black poplar varieties. The biphyletic nature of the P. nigra genomes suggests that dependency on one class of molecular or morphological markers or the merging of the two kinds of data sets to derive accurate estimates of true phylogenies could be misleading in plants.

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