Species boundaries and interrelationships of two closely related sympatric diploid wild potato species, Solanum astleyi and S. boliviense, based on RAPDs
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The more than 200 wild and cultivated species relatives of potato (Solanum sect. Petota) present a valuable germplasm base for cultivar improvement. However, species boundaries and interrelationships within sect. Petota are controversial, inhibiting the efficient organization of the many germplasm collections of these species. One controversy involves questions of species boundaries and interrelationships of S. astleyi and S. boliviense. Solanum boliviense is narrowly endemic to two Departments in southern Bolivia, and S. astleyi is known only from one site entirely within the range of this species, where they co-occur. Both species are diploid and morphologically very similar. Artificial hybrids between them are fully fertile, and the species putatively hybridize naturally. These data have been interpreted to designate them as separate species or as S. astleyi an ecotype of S. boliviense. Putative progenitors of S. astleyi are S. boliviense, S. megistacrolobum subsp. megistacrolobum, and S. megistacrolobum subsp. toralapanum. We evaluated interrelationships among these species with random amplified polymorphic DNA’s (RAPDs) generated for 2 accessions of S. astleyi and 14 accessions of S. boliviense. These represent the entire geographic range of the former species and nearly the entire range of the latter. We also analyzed 1 accession each of S. acaule subsp. acaule, S. acaule subsp. aemulans, S. albicans, S. berthaultii, S. megistacrolobum subsp. megistacrolobum, S. megistacrolobum subsp. toralapanum, S. raphanifolium, S. sogarandinum, and S. sparsipilum. Phenetic analyses of the RAPD data show S. astleyi and S. boliviense to form two distinct groups and to be more similar to each other than to any of the other species investigated, suggesting that S. astleyi and S. boliviense are sister taxa. The divergence of S. astleyi and S. boliviense relative to other species examined suggests that they are worthy of taxonomic recognition at the subspecies, rather than species level, and we propose the new combination S. boliviense subsp. astleyi.
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