, Volume 288, Issue 1-2, pp 43-58
Date: 16 Jul 2010

Evaluating species nonmonophyly as a trait affecting genetic diversity: a case study of three endangered species of Antirrhinum L. (Scrophulariaceae)

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Molecular markers are routinely used to assess levels of diversity within and among populations, particularly with regard to species of conservation concern. However, when interpreting the level and partitioning of diversity observed, an implicit assumption is often made that the populations of the species in question form a monophyletic group. We tested this assumption in three endemics of Antirrhinum (A. charidemi, A. subbaeticum, and A. valentinum) using 79 nuclear [internal transcribed spacer (ITS)] and 85 plastid (psbA-trnH, trnT-trnL, trnK-matK, trnS-trnG) sequences representing multiple accessions of each of 24 Antirrhinum species (single accession of A. cirrhigerum). These species share six life history traits implicated in levels of genetic diversity, and have been the subject of previous population genetic studies. Populations of all three species formed monophyletic groups on ITS analysis. In contrast, none of the three species formed monophyletic groups on plastid sequence analysis: populations of A. charidemi fall in a monophyletic group including one accession of A. mollissimum, populations of A. subbaeticum form a polyphyletic group with plastid sequences shared with A. pulverulentum, and populations of A. valentinum are unresolved within a clade containing six other species. Lack of monophyly using plastid sequences is interpreted as a combination of shared ancestral polymorphism and hybridization in a reticulate evolutionary history of these species. Monophyly in the ITS tree may reflect a more recent sequence homogenization. We draw attention to the evaluation of species monophyly alongside the contribution of other life history traits in the historical interpretation of the level and partitioning of genetic diversity, and its use in recommendations for species conservation programs.