Chloroplast DNA diversity within and among populations of the allotetraploid Prunus spinosa L.
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High chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) diversity was found within and among populations of Prunus spinosa sampled from seven European deciduous forests. A study of 12% of the total chloroplast genome detected 44 mutations, which were distributed over 24 haplotypes; four were common to two or more populations and the rest were unique haplotypes. The most-abundant and widely distributed haplotype was H2 (frequency = 41% approximately). Six of the seven populations were polymorphic. All of the six polymorphic populations had ”private” haplotypes (frequency < 5%) in addition to common haplotypes. The UPGMA dendrogram demonstrated a correlation between populations and their geographical locations. The total diversity was high (hT = 0.824) and a major portion of it was within populations (hs = 0.663). The level of population subdivision for unordered alleles was low (GST = 19.5%) and for ordered alleles was lower (NST = 13.6%). No phylogeographic structure could be demonstrated in the present geographical scale. High polymorphism in the cpDNA of P. spinosa has to be considered carefully when planning phylogenetic studies involving this species.
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