Molecular tests of the hypothesized hybrid origin of two diploid Helianthus species (Asteraceae)

  • Rieseberg L
  • Carter R
  • Zona S
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Enzyme electrophoresis and restriction-fragment analysis of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) and nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) were used to test the hypothesis that both Helianthus neglectus and H. paradoxus are stabilized hybrid derivatives of H. annuus and H. petiolaris. The four species are annuals, diploid outcrossers, and have the same chromosome number. Helianthus annuus and H. petiolaris had the same allele in highest frequency for 16 of the 18 isozyme loci examined and had different majority alleles for only 6-Pgd3 and Pgi2. The two species had divergent rDNAs that could be distinguished by seven diagnostic restriction site mutations and three length mutations, and their cpDNAs could be differentiated by three diagnostic restriction site mutations. The alleles observed in H. neglectus were not a combination of those observed in H. annuus and H. petiolaris. Although H. neglectus had only one unique allele, it possessed none of the three alleles specific to H. annuus. In contrast, it had four of the seven alleles specific to H. petiolaris. Furthermore, H. neglectus had the same rDNA type as H. petiolaris and had the same cpDNA as that found in two populations of H. petiolaris ssp. fallax. These data allowed us to speculate that H. neglectus may be a recent derivative of H. petiolaris ssp. fallax, rather than a stabilized hybrid derivative as originally proposed. In contrast, H. paradoxus combined the alleles of H. annuus and H. petiolaris and had no unique alleles. At Adh2, H. paradoxus was monomorphic for an allele found only in H. petiolaris ssp. fallax, whereas at 6-Pgd3 and Pgi2, it was monomorphic for high frequency H. annuus alleles. Furthermore, H. paradoxus combined the rDNA repeat types of both proposed parents and had the chloroplast genome of H. annuus. These data provide compelling evidence that H. paradoxus, in contrast to H. neglectus, was derived via hybridization.

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  • LH Rieseberg

  • R Carter

  • S Zona

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