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Population genetic structure of the cleistogamous plant species Viola pubescens Aiton (Violaceae), as indicated by allozyme and ISSR molecular markers


THERESA M. CULLEY Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA, U.S.A. 92697–2525. E-mail:


Few studies of genetic variation have focused on species that reproduce through both showy, chasmogamous (CH) flowers and self-pollinated, cleistogamous (CL) flowers. Using two different techniques, genetic variation was measured in six populations of Viola pubescens Aiton, a yellow-flowered violet found in the temperate forests of eastern North America. Results from eight allozyme loci showed that there was considerable genetic variation in the species, and population structuring was indicated by the presence of unique alleles and a θ (FST) value of 0.29. High genetic variation was also found using ISSR (inter-simple sequence repeat) markers, and population structuring was again evident with unique bands. Viola pubescens appears to have a true mixed-mating system in which selfing through CL and CH flowers contributes to population differentiation, and outcrossing through CH flowers increases genetic variation and gene flow among populations. Overall, allozyme and ISSR techniques yielded similar results, indicating that ISSR markers show potential for use in population genetic studies.