AFLP analysis reveals infraspecific phylogenetic relationships and population genetic structure of two species of Aconitum in Central Europe

Józef Mitka, Piotr Boroń, Ada Wróblewska, Wojciech Bąba


The genetic diversity of two Aconitum species endemic to the Carpathian Mountains and Sudetes was studied. A reticulate evolution between them was earlier postulated as an effect of secondary contact. The genetic diversity at the individual and taxonomic levels was examined across the entire geographical ranges of the taxa in 11 populations based on 247 AFLP markers found in 112 individuals in the Sudetes and Western Carpathians. The overall genetic differentiation was greater within the Sudetic A. plicatum (FST = 0.139, P < 0.001) than within the Carpathian A. firmum (FST = 0.062, P < 0.001), presumably due to the long-lasting geographic isolation between the Giant Mts and Praděd (Sudetes) populations of the species. Interestingly, relatively distant and presently isolated populations of A. plicatum and A. f. subsp. maninense share a part of their genomes. It could be an effect of their common evolutionary history, including past and present reticulations. The introgression among infraspecific taxa of Aconitum is common, probably as a result of seed dispersal within a distance of ca. 20 km (Mantel’s r = 0.36, P = 0.01). Aconitum f. subsp. maninense had the highest genetic diversity indices: Nei’s h and rarefied FAr, and divergence index DW (P ≤ 0.05), pointing to its presumably ancient age and long-term isolation.


Carpathians; introgression; Linnaean taxonomy; phylogenetics; population genetics; reticulate evolution; Sudetes

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