Genetic analysis of Japanese and American specimens of Scirpus hattorianus suggests its introduction from North America
Scirpus hattorianus is a possible alien species in Japan, and a clarification of its unclear taxonomy is required to reveal its origin. It is not known whether the plants initially described from Japan represent the same species distributed in North America. To clarify the origin of the species, we attempted to sequence old specimens collected about 80 years ago using newly designed primer pairs specific for short sequences, including the variable sites. Chloroplast sequences of ndhF were compared among Japanese and North American S. hattorianus, and the closely related species, S. atrovirens, S. flaccidifolius, and S. georgianus. We succeeded in sequencing all samples, and two haplotypes were detected in S. hattorianus: one was unique to the species and the other, detected from specimens potentially collected from the same population as the types, was shared by both North American S. hattorianus and two closely related species, S. atrovirens and S. flaccidifolius. Our results suggest that Japanese S. hattorianus is an alien species that was introduced from North America at least twice.
KeywordsAlien species Chloroplast DNA Cyperaceae Herbarium specimens Scirpus hattorianus Taxonomy
We thank Drs. David E. Boufford, A. R. Brach (Harvard University), M. Maki, K. Yonekura (Tohoku University), H. Nagamasu (Kyoto University), and H. Ikeda (Tokyo University), and Ms. A. Shimizu (Tokyo University), for their cooperation in the collection of specimen samples, and Messrs. K. Fukatsu (Notsuke Peninsule Nature Center) and S. Nemoto (Fukushima University), and Dr. Y. Kato (Kushiro City Museum), for their help in collecting samples. This work was supported by the Research Project of Fukushima University for Regeneration of Harmonies between Human Activity and Nature in Bandai-Asahi National Park.
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