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Genetic structure is associated with phenotypic divergence in floral traits and reproductive investment in a high-altitude orchid from the Iron Quadrangle, southeastern Brazil.

By Bruno Leles, Anderson V Chaves, Philip Russo, João A N Batista and Maria Bernadete Lovato


Knowledge of the role of Neotropical montane landscapes in shaping genetic connectivity and local adaptation is essential for understanding the evolutionary processes that have shaped the extraordinary species diversity in these regions. In the present study, we examined the landscape genetics, estimated genetic diversity, and explored genetic relationships with morphological variability and reproductive strategies in seven natural populations of Cattleya liliputana (Orchidaceae). Nuclear microsatellite markers were used for genetic analyses. Spatial Bayesian clustering and population-based analyses revealed significant genetic structuring and high genetic diversity (He = 0.733 ± 0.03). Strong differentiation was found between populations over short spatial scales (FST = 0.138, p < 0.001), reflecting the landscape discontinuity and isolation. Monmonier´s maximum difference algorithm, Bayesian analysis on STRUCTURE and principal component analysis identified one major genetic discontinuity between populations. Divergent genetic groups showed phenotypic divergence in flower traits and reproductive strategies. Increased sexual reproductive effort was associated with rock outcrop type and may be a response to adverse conditions for growth and vegetative reproduction. Here we discuss the effect of restricted gene flow, local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity as drivers of population differentiation in Neotropical montane rock outcrops

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120645
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