Spanish explorers and colonists inadvertently started a massive experiment in evolutionary genetics when they accidentally introduced Avena barbata to California from Spain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Assays of the Spanish and Californian gene pools of this species for 15 loci show that the present day Spanish gene pool, particularly that of Southwestern Spain, is identical or virtually identical to that of California for five loci and closely similar for nine loci. Despite their similar allelic and single-locus genotypic compositions, the present-day Spanish and Californian gene pools are differently structured on a multilocus genetic basis. Evolutionary implications of these results are discussed.
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