Leaf morphological and genetic divergence in populations of Drimys (Winteraceae) in Chile
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The genus Drimys is distributed in Chile from semi-arid zones to sub-Antarctic forests; there are three species of this tree, D. andina, D. confertifolia and D. winteri, the latter with varieties chilensis and winteri. Northern populations are found in small disjunct natural refuges, specifically mountain cloud forests and the bottom of ravines. The size and continuity of populations are greater in the south, where wetter conditions prevail. Morphological differences between populations have been observed, particularly between the northern populations of Fray Jorge and Talinay. This observation, led to the following questions: a) what is the level of morphological and genetic divergence among the populations of Drimys in Chile? and b) do the populations from Fray Jorge/Talinay, currently classified as D. winteri var. chilensis, differ genetically from the other populations of this variety? To answer these questions, we collected leaf samples from 37 populations of all Chilean Drimys, performed leaf morphology analysis and estimated genetic divergence using RAPD markers. We found a high degree of leaf morphological and genetic divergence between the populations of Fray Jorge/Talinay and the other Chilean species of Drimys. The morphological and genetic divergence among varieties of D. winteri was greater than that among the species of Drimys, which may indicate problems with their taxonomic classification.
Artículo de publicación ISI
DOI: DOI: 10.4238/2012.February.3.3