Assessment of AFLP-based Genetic Variation in Three Native Plant Species Across the State of Minnesota

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  11/04/2005


Analysis of genetic diversity and population differentiation determines how diverse natural populations are and how closely related they are to one another, which can provide clues concerning adaptation for restoration projects. This research analyzed the genetic diversity of three native species across their range in Minnesota. Using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms, the genetic diversities of three species-prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea), and spotted Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum)-were examined. The diversity for all the species had more disjunct relationships rather than displaying geographic or ecological patterns. The genotypic variation may be due to ecotypic variation or to genetic drift as a result of habitat fragmentation. The species had Gst values, a measure of how much populations differ, that ranged from 0.18 up to 0.27, indicating clear population differentiation. Analysis of molecular variance results concurred. The natural populations of all these species showed moderate levels of genetic diversity. This information is helpful in ensuring adequate diversity in seed sources for restorations. Additional research on these populations by performing common garden and reciprocal transplantation experiments would be a useful supplementation to the molecular marker data. For restorations in Minnesota, the best option may be to use seed that is as close as possible.

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