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Journal Article

Patterns of Allozyme Diversity in the West Indies Cycad Zamia pumila (Zamiaceae)

Terrence W. Walters and Deena S. Decker-Walters
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 78, No. 3 (Mar., 1991), pp. 436-445
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444966
Page Count: 10

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Topics: Plants, Alleles, Enzymes, Biological taxonomies, Botanical gardens, Botany, Pollen, Gels, Petioles, Taxa
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Patterns of Allozyme Diversity in the West Indies Cycad Zamia pumila (Zamiaceae)
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Abstract

The West Indies cycad, Zamia pumila, is restricted to the Greater Antilles, northern Bahama Islands, Florida, and the southeastern coast of Georgia. An electrophoretic study based on nine enzymes compared 21 accessions from throughout the range of the species. Lower levels of intrapopulation variation than those reported for ferns, other gymnosperms, and angiosperms were discovered for the two more extensively sampled populations. However, this variation was similar to that found in other island taxa and in the endemic Australian cycad, Macrozamia communis. In contrast, allozyme divergence among accessions of Z. pumila appeared relatively high, mostly as a result of rare alleles restricted in geographic distribution. The age and biogeography of Z. pumila may gave contributed to population differentiation. Also, mean number of alleles per locus was low for the species (1.75). Finally, the time-since-divergence value (10.8 million years ago) between Z. pumila and its closest extant relative, Z. splendens, was much smaller than the age of Z. pumila suggested by the fossil record and historical geology of the Caribbean (30-60 million years ago). Together, these data indicate that biochemical evolution within this species, and perhaps in all cycads, is slow when compared to that of noncycad seed plants.

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