High genetic diversity and presence of genetic structure characterise the endemics Ruta corsica and Ruta lamarmorae (Rutaceae)

Genetic diversity and structure of Ruta corsica and Ruta lamarmorae

  • Marilena Meloni Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrase 107, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
  • Caterina Angela Dettori Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente - Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi, 13 - IT-09123 Cagliari, Italy
  • Andrea Reid Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Universitätstrasse 6, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
  • Gianluigi Bacchetta Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente - Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi, 13 - IT-09123 Cagliari, Italy http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1714-3978
  • Laetitia Hugot Conservatoire Botanique National de Corse, Office de l’Environnement de la Corse, Avenue Jean Nicoli, 20250 Corte, France
  • Elena Conti Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrase 107, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Keywords: Genetic diversity, endangered species, Ruta, Corsica, Sardinia, microsatellite

Abstract

Corsica and Sardinia form one of the areas with highest biodiversity in the Mediterranean and are considered one of the priority regions for conservation in Europe. In order to preserve the high levels of endemism and biological diversity at different hierarchical levels, knowledge of the evolutionary history and current genetic structure of Corso-Sardinian endemics is instrumental. Microsatellite markers were newly developed and used to study the genetic structure and taxonomic status of Ruta corsica and Ruta lamarmorae, rare endemics of Corsica and Sardinia, respectively, and previously considered a single species. Our analyses identified high levels of genetic variation within each species (P=0.883, He=0.543 for R. corsica; P=0.972, He=0.627 for R. lamarmorae). Intrinsic traits of the species (hermaphroditism, proterandry and polyploidy) and island-dependent factors (i.e. age, origin and history of the islands) might explain the detected high levels of genetic variation. We discovered differentiation between R. corsica and R. lamarmorae, and genetic structure within each species, which are consistent with the observation of low dispersal ability for both species. Our genetic results support the recent taxonomic classification of R. corsica and R. lamarmorae as separate species and suggest that they diverge at only few loci. One R. corsica population (SA) strongly differed from all other studied populations and appeared to be the product of hybridization between the two species in STRUCTURE analyses. Our results provide important insights for the conservation of the two rare endemics. Further genetic analyses are recommended for R. lamarmorae and for population SA (R. corsica).

Author Biographies

Marilena Meloni, Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrase 107, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland

Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich

Caterina Angela Dettori, Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente - Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi, 13 - IT-09123 Cagliari, Italy

Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente - Università degli Studi di Cagliari

Andrea Reid, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Universitätstrasse 6, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland

Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich

Gianluigi Bacchetta, Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente - Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi, 13 - IT-09123 Cagliari, Italy

Director of Centro Servizi Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK) Università degli Studi di Cagliari

Full professor at Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente - Università degli Studi di Cagliari

Laetitia Hugot, Conservatoire Botanique National de Corse, Office de l’Environnement de la Corse, Avenue Jean Nicoli, 20250 Corte, France

Director of Conservatoire Botanique National de Corse, Office de l’Environnement de la Corse

Elena Conti, Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrase 107, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland

Director of Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich

Published
2020-03-13
How to Cite
Meloni, M., Dettori, C. A., Reid, A., Bacchetta, G., Hugot, L., & Conti, E. (2020). High genetic diversity and presence of genetic structure characterise the endemics Ruta corsica and Ruta lamarmorae (Rutaceae). Caryologia. International Journal of Cytology, Cytosystematics and Cytogenetics, 73(1). https://doi.org/10.13128/caryologia-510
Section
Articles