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Evidence for multiple sources of invasion and intraspecific hybridization in Brachypodium sylvaticum (Hudson) Beauv. in North America

Authors

  • DAVID M. ROSENTHAL,

    1. Department of Biology, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97207, USA,
    2. US Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, 1206 West Gregory Drive, MC 195, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
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  • ALISA P. RAMAKRISHNAN,

    1. Department of Biology, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97207, USA,
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  • MITCHELL B. CRUZAN

    1. Department of Biology, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97207, USA,
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Mitchell B. Cruzan, Fax: 503-725-3888; E-mail: cruzan@pdx.edu

Abstract

We compared the levels and distribution of genetic diversity in Eurasian and North American populations of Brachypodium sylvaticum (Huds.) Beauv. (false brome), a newly invasive perennial bunchgrass in western North America. Our goals were to identify source regions for invasive populations, determine the number of independent invasion events, and assess the possibility that postinvasion bottlenecks and hybridization have affected patterns of genetic diversity in the invaded range. We tested the hypothesis that this Eurasian grass was accidentally introduced into two areas in Oregon and one site in California by examining nuclear microsatellites and chloroplast haplotype variation in 23 introduced and 25 native populations. In the invaded range, there was significantly lower allelic richness (RS), observed heterozygosity (HO) and within-population gene diversity (HS), although a formal test failed to detect a significant genetic bottleneck. Most of the genetic variation existed among populations in the native range but within populations in the invaded range. All of the allelic variation in the invaded range could be explained based on alleles found in western European populations. The distribution of identified genetic clusters in the North American populations and the unique alleles associated with them is consistent with two historical introductions in Oregon and a separate introduction to California. Further analyses of population structure indicate that intraspecific hybridization among genotypes from geographically distinct regions of western Europe occurred following colonization in Oregon. The California populations, however, are more likely to be derived from one or perhaps several genetically similar regions in the native range. The emergence and spread of novel recombinant genotypes may be facilitating the rapid spread of this invasive species in Oregon.

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