• genetic diversity;
  • serpentine;
  • hyperaccumulator;
  • Alyssum bertolonii;
  • chloroplast microsatellite


  • Chloroplast microsatellites (cpSSR) were used to analyze the patterns of genetic variation within and among populations of the serpentine endemic, Alyssum bertolonii .
  • Thirty-five different chloroplast haplotypes were identified in 90 plants sampled from nine populations originating from the four disjunct northern-Italian serpentine regions where the species is found.
  • High levels of genetic diversity were found within each of the populations sampled. Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) showed high degrees of differentiation among both different populations of the same serpentine region and different regions (Φ ST = 0.622, Φ CT = 0.252, respectively).
  • The results indicated that: each population was established by few founders and then subsequently differentiated the existing chloroplast haplotypes; each population is a distinct genetic entity; and populations within the same serpentine region are more related than populations from different regions.