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RECENT PLANT SPECIATION IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND: ORIGINS, ESTABLISHMENT AND EVOLUTION OF FOUR NEW HYBRID SPECIES
Richard J. Abbott, Helen E. Ireland, Latha Joseph, M. Stuart Davies and Hilary J. Rogers
Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy
Vol. 105B, No. 3, Fauna and Flora of Atlantic Islands (NOVEMBER 2005), pp. 173-183
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20728567
Page Count: 11
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Four new, sexually reproducing hybrid species have originated in the British Isles during the past 100-400 years. Two of these are allopolyploids (Senecio cambrensis and Spartina anglica), one is a recombinant polyploid (Senecio eboracensis), and the other is a diploid hybrid species (Senecio squalidus). We review what is known about the origins and establishment of each of these species. Material of all four species provides a valuable resource for detailed analysis of processes involved in the evolution of new species during and immediately following their origin. We also report the results of a recent study conducted on neutral molecular variation (AFLP variation) within S. cambrensis and its two parents, S. vulgaris and S. squalidus. Widespread AFLP variation was recorded in S. cambrensis with approximately 12.5% of this variation due to differences between populations and 87.5% resulting from variation within populations. This shows that genetic diversity has been rapidly generated in this species, most probably due to multiple origins, intergenomic recombination, crossing between divergent lines and possibly other factors such as increased transposon and retroelement activity. This ability to generate large amounts of genetic diversity may aid this species in adapting to new sites and increasing its range in the future. The high level of AFLP variation recorded in S. cambrensis contrasts with the relative genetic uniformity found in Spartina anglica based on AFLP surveys conducted by others. Reasons for this difference are briefly discussed.
Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy © 2005 Royal Irish Academy