, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 163–172 | Cite as

Genetic diversity and taxonomic relationships within the genus Lens as revealed by allozyme polymorphism

  • Morag E. Ferguson
  • Larry D. Robertson


A survey of allozyme polymorphism at 11 loci was carried out on 439 accessions from the genus Lens. This comprised 153 Lens culinaris subsp. orientalis, 35 L. odemensis, 117 L. ervoides, 32 L. nigricans, 2 of a differentiated cytotype of L. nigricans and 100 landrace accessions of the cultivated lentil (L. culinaris subsp. culinaris), from 10 different countries. The aim of the survey was to determine intra-specific genetic diversity and species relationships, based on phylogenetic and phenetic analyses, particularly regarding the position of L. odemensis and the differentiated cytotype of L. nigricans. Diversity was described by three statistics. The level of diversity in the cultivated taxon was lower than in any of the wild species according to two of these statistics, the percentage of polymorphic loci and mean number of alleles per locus. For the third measure (Nei's mean genetic diversity) it was only greater than L. ervoides. Genetic diversity statistics of the wild species indicated differences in the nature of between-population genetic diversity within the different taxa. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that L. odemensis and L. ervoides evolved from a common ancestor, and L. culinaris subsp. orientalis subsequently evolved from L. odemensis. Phenetic analysis, however, places L. odemensis closer to L. culinaris subsp. orientalis than to L. ervoides. Nei's mean genetic distance of L. odemensis from both L. culinaris subsp. culinaris (0.204) and L. culinaris subsp. orientalis (0.110) was greater than the distance between them (0.062). This evidence is not conclusive in determining whether L. odemensis should retain its specific status. Further crossability studies should be carried out on a range of genotypes to assess the potential for gene flow. The evidence presented shows the differentiated cytotype of L. nigricans to be quite distinct from other L. nigricans accessions, both phenetically and phylogenetically. This indicates that the differentiated cytotype of L. nigricans may constitute a new taxon. Discriminant function analysis reveals that isozymes may be useful in validating species classification.

Key words

genetic distance genetic diversity allozyme Lens phylogeny 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morag E. Ferguson
    • 1
  • Larry D. Robertson
    • 1
  1. 1.International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)AleppoSyria

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