Get access

Population structure and genetic diversity in tristylous Narcissus triandrus: insights from microsatellite and chloroplast DNA variation


K. Hodgins, Fax: +1 416 978 5878; E-mail:


We investigated cpDNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite variation among populations of the wild daffodil Narcissus triandrus to examine the role of historical vs. contemporary forces in shaping population structure, morphological differentiation and sexual-system evolution. This wide-ranging heterostylous species of the Iberian Peninsula is largely composed of two allopatric varieties (vars. cernuus and triandrus), and populations with either stylar trimorphism or dimorphism. Dimorphic populations only occur in var. triandrus, are mainly restricted to the northwestern portion of the species range, and uniformly lack the mid-styled morph (M-morph). Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequence variation revealed strong geographical structuring and evidence for a fragmentation event associated with differentiation of the two varieties. In var. triandrus, population fragmentation, restricted gene flow and isolation-by-distance were also inferred. Significant differences in genetic diversity and population structure between the two varieties likely reflect historical and contemporary differences in demography and gene flow among populations. Discordance between cpDNA markers and both microsatellite and morphological variation indicate that hybridization has occurred between the two varieties at contact zones. There were no differences in genetic diversity or population structure between dimorphic and trimorphic populations, and chloroplast haplotypes were not associated with either sexual system, indicating transitions in morph structure within each maternal lineage. M-morph frequencies were positively correlated with differentiation at microsatellite loci, indicating that the evolutionary processes influencing these neutral markers also influence alleles controlling the style morphs.