Molecular evidence for a natural diploid hybrid between Miscanthussinensis (Poaceae) and M. sacchariflorus
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- Jiang, J., Zhu, M., Ai, X. et al. Plant Syst Evol (2013) 299: 1367. doi:10.1007/s00606-013-0801-2
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The hybrid origin of Miscanthus purpurascens has previously been proposed, primarily because of its intermediate morphology. In this study, phylogenies based on the DNA sequences from the internal transcribed spacer region of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA ITS), on the DNA sequences of the trnL intron and trnL-F intergenic spacer of chloroplast DNA, and on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting confirm that M. purpurascens originated through homoploid hybridization between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus. Two different types of ITS sequences were identified from almost all plants of M. purpurascens. One type was found to be closely related to M. sinensis and the other to M. sacchariflorus. Miscanthus purpurascens was found to possess many M. sinensis- and M. sacchariflorus-specific AFLP bands but no band specific to itself. Clustering with the Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Mean and principal coordinate analysis based on the AFLP data also demonstrated that M. purpurascens is an approximate intermediate of the two species. In addition, M. purpurascens has the plastid genome of M. sinensis or M. sacchariflorus, suggesting that either species could be its maternal parent. All specimens of M. purpurascens and its coexisting parental species are identified as diploids (2n = 2x = 38). Possible mechanisms of natural hybridization, hybrid status, chloroplast DNA recombination, and evolutionary implications of this hybridization are also discussed.