Becker, Anna , Small, Randall .
Genetic variation and geographic distribution of two closely related Penstemon species.
Understanding the relationship between genetic diversity and geographical distribution is essential for the conservation of rare species. However, the identification of factors contributing to rarity can be difficult in the presence of confounding variables. The comparison of narrowly distributed endemics with widespread congeners is an invaluable tool for eliminating such variables; our study compares sister taxa Penstemon tenuiflorus and P. hirsutus (Plantaginaceae). These species are hypothesized to be closely related, however their placement within the Penstemon phylogeny has yet to be resolved. While P. tenuiflorus has a narrow distribution localized to central Tennessee, the range of P. hirsutus extends from northern Tennessee into southeastern Canada. Although Penstemon generally experiences high levels of interspecific hybridization, P. tenuiflorus and P. hirsutus have never been observed to hybridize in nature, which is particularly puzzling given their remarkable similarity and overlapping distributions. In order to assess genetic divergence between and within species, our research utilizes a combination of molecular markers: a nuclear gene, a non-coding chloroplast DNA region, and microsatellite loci.
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1 - University of Tennessee, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 442 Hesler Biology Building, Knoxville, TN, 37996, USA
2 - University of Tennessee, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 442 Hesler Biology, Knoxville, Tennesee, 37996, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: 555A/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 3:15 PM