Genista etnensis is a remarkable and well-known tree endemic to Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica (Mediterranean Basin). Nevertheless, its morphological variability and its native status throughout its range need to be further investigated. In this study, we aim to clarify some aspects of this infraspecific variability by molecular means. Sequences of one nuclear and five plastid markers were analyzed under maximum parsimony by using TCS software. Plastid data were also timecalibrated under a Bayesian Inference framework. Plastid data revealed strong isolation between the populations from the Cyrno-Sardinian biogeographical province, which are also the most diverse and presumably the most archaic, and those from Sicily and Southern Italy (in this latter area, the species is naturalized). The calibration analysis indicates that the last common ancestor between G. etnensis and its sister group G. fasselata dates back to the middle Pliocene or slightly later, when sclerophyllous Mediterranean vegetation spread, whereas G. etnensis itself might have originated in the middle Pleistocene. The current, rather unusual distribution of G. etnensis could be explained by long-range seed dispersal from the western part of the range or by anthropogenic introduction into Sicily, with extinctions of transported haplotypes in the region of origin. Interestingly, the Vesuvius population, introduced from Sicily in recent times and locally naturalized, shows private genotypes, and was richer in both genotypes and haplotypes than the Sicilian ones.

Variability and Nativeness in the Mediterranean Taxa: Divergence and Phylogeography of Genista etnensis (Fabaceae) Inferred from Nuclear and Plastid Data

Olga De Castro
Primo
;
Emanuele Del Guacchio
Secondo
;
Emanuela Di Iorio;Paolo Caputo
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Genista etnensis is a remarkable and well-known tree endemic to Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica (Mediterranean Basin). Nevertheless, its morphological variability and its native status throughout its range need to be further investigated. In this study, we aim to clarify some aspects of this infraspecific variability by molecular means. Sequences of one nuclear and five plastid markers were analyzed under maximum parsimony by using TCS software. Plastid data were also timecalibrated under a Bayesian Inference framework. Plastid data revealed strong isolation between the populations from the Cyrno-Sardinian biogeographical province, which are also the most diverse and presumably the most archaic, and those from Sicily and Southern Italy (in this latter area, the species is naturalized). The calibration analysis indicates that the last common ancestor between G. etnensis and its sister group G. fasselata dates back to the middle Pliocene or slightly later, when sclerophyllous Mediterranean vegetation spread, whereas G. etnensis itself might have originated in the middle Pleistocene. The current, rather unusual distribution of G. etnensis could be explained by long-range seed dispersal from the western part of the range or by anthropogenic introduction into Sicily, with extinctions of transported haplotypes in the region of origin. Interestingly, the Vesuvius population, introduced from Sicily in recent times and locally naturalized, shows private genotypes, and was richer in both genotypes and haplotypes than the Sicilian ones.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/901702
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