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Abstract Detail

Population Genetics/Genomics

Gill, Pawanpreet [1], Athwal, Savneesh [1], Aguilar-Gutierrez, Estefania [1], Waselkov, Katherine [2].

Population genetics of the widespread perennial wildflower Phlox speciosa using microsatellite markers.

Phlox speciosa is a perennial wildflower native to western North America, occurring from the Sierra Nevada of California to British Columbia and into the mountains of Idaho and Montana, between 75-2400 m in elevation. Across this wide geographic range, P. speciosa shows extensive variation in morphological and ecological traits. The species has shallowly-to-deeply-notched petals that range in coloration from white to bright pink, and the vegetative growth exhibits varying internode lengths and pubescence between populations. It grows in diverse environments such as dry rocky ridges, mixed conifer forests, and sagebrush slopes, and the habit ranges from a prostrate creeping growth form to a medium-sized shrub in different substrates. A previous taxonomic expert in the group described several subspecies and varieties in P. speciosa in the 1950s based on this evident variation across the range. Many species of the genus Phlox have shown variation in chromosome number (ploidy level) across their geographic range, but interestingly, P. speciosa shows little variation in ploidy level across its wide geographic range (with only one tetraploid population identified). In order to determine genetic diversity and structure in P. speciosa, DNA was extracted from 22 populations collected from across the species range and genotyped with five microsatellite markers, and data was analyzed with population genetic statistics and clustering programs, including STRUCTURE. Results show that even though this species is widespread, morphologically variable, and grows in very disparate habitats, it exhibits no genetic structure and little genetic diversity at these five microsatellite loci. Even the states of Washington and California (separately by a gap in the range, as the species does not occur in most of Oregon) are genetically indistinguishable. Phlox speciosa may be very phenotypically plastic; alternatively, genetic variation underlying morphological differences between populations may be restricted to few loci or limited portions of the genome.

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1 - California State University, Fresno, Biology, 2555 E. San Ramon Ave., Fresno, CA, 93740, United States
2 - California State University, Fresno, Biology Department, M/S SB73, 2555 E. San Ramon Ave., Science 1, Fresno, CA, 93740, United States

Western North America
Phlox speciosa

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: PGG1, Population Genetics and Genomics I
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 3:15 PM(EDT)
Number: PGG1002
Abstract ID:339
Candidate for Awards:None

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