A European phylogeography of Rhinanthus minor compared to Rhinanthus angustifolius: unexpected splits and signs of hybridization

Authors

  • Jérôme Vrancken,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, Earth & Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 4–5, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
    2. National Centre for Biosystematics, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, NO-0318 Oslo, Norway
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  • Christian Brochmann,

    1. National Centre for Biosystematics, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, NO-0318 Oslo, Norway
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  • Renate A. Wesselingh

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, Earth & Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 4–5, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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  • Funded by an FSR grant from the University of Louvain.

Renate Wesselingh, Biodiversity Research Centre, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 4-5, Box L7.07.04, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Fax: +32 (0)10 47 3490; E-mail: renate.wesselingh@uclouvain.be

Abstract

Rhinanthus minor and Rhinanthus angustifolius (Orobanchaceae) are annual hemiparasites, which occur sympatrically in Europe and are known to hybridize. We studied chloroplast and nuclear (amplified fragment length polymorphism [AFLP]) diversity in R. minor and compared genetic structuring in this species with R. angustifolius by analyzing the AFLP data for both species simultaneously. The AFLP data revealed that populations in Italy, Greece, and southeast Russia initially identified as R. minor were so distant from the other R. minor populations that they probably belong to another, yet unidentified taxon, and we refer to them as Rhinanthus sp. R. minor s.s. showed a clear geographic genetic structure in both the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) and nuclear genome. The simultaneous analysis of both species shed new light on the previously published findings for R. angustifolius, because some populations now turned out to belong to R. minor. The admixture analysis revealed very few individuals of mixed R. minor–R.angustifolius ancestry in the natural populations in the west of Europe, while admixture levels were higher in the east. The combined haplotype network showed that haplotype H1 was shared among all species and is likely to be ancestral. H2 was more abundant in R. angustifolius and H3 in R. minor, and the latter probably arose from H1 in this species in the east of Europe. The occurrence of H3 in R. angustifolius may be explained by introgression from R. minor, but without interspecific admixture, these are likely to have been old hybridization events. Our study underlines the importance of including related species in phylogeographic studies.

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