How mitochondrial DNA diversity can help to understand the dynamics of wild-cultivated complexes. The case of Medicago sativa in Spain

Authors

  • M. H. Muller,

    1. Laboratoire de ressources génétiques et d’amélioration des luzernes méditerranéennes, Station de génétique et amélioration des plantes, INRA, Domaine de Melgueil, 34130 Mauguio, France
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  • J. M. Prosperi,

    1. Laboratoire de ressources génétiques et d’amélioration des luzernes méditerranéennes, Station de génétique et amélioration des plantes, INRA, Domaine de Melgueil, 34130 Mauguio, France
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  • S. Santoni,

    1. Laboratoire de ressources génétiques et d’amélioration des luzernes méditerranéennes, Station de génétique et amélioration des plantes, INRA, Domaine de Melgueil, 34130 Mauguio, France
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  • J. Ronfort

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire de ressources génétiques et d’amélioration des luzernes méditerranéennes, Station de génétique et amélioration des plantes, INRA, Domaine de Melgueil, 34130 Mauguio, France
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Joëlle Ronfort. Fax: 33 (0)4 67 29 39 90; E-mail: ronfort@ensam.inra.fr

Abstract

In order to clarify the relationships (genetic exchange and shared ancestry) between natural and cultivated populations of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Spain, we investigated the patterns of mitochondrial DNA variation (characterized through restriction fragment length polymorphism) for 248 individuals in seven natural and six cultivated populations of this species. Mitochondrial variation was evidenced in both natural and cultivated populations of M. sativa. Among the seven mitotypes idengified in the species, two were specific of the natural populations, a result attesting the fact that the Spanish wild form of M. sativa is an original genetic pool compared to the cultivated one. Other mitotypes were observed in both natural and cultivated populations, suggesting the occurrence of gene flow through seeds from cultivated towards natural populations. Comparisons with previously gathered nuclear and phenotypic data give insights into the different evolutionary forces acting on the different kinds of Spanish natural populations examined so far.

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