AFLP analysis of genetic variability of the three species of rhododendrons in Southern Siberia and Far East

1 V.N. Sukachev Institute of Forest SB RAS, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
2 Ekaterinburg, Russia

Rhododendron is the most numerous genus in Ericaceae family. In Russia this genus is represented by 21 species. Species that are difficult to distinguish morphologically provide the special interest for research. The most widespread species in Siberia and Far East are Rhododendron dauricum L., Rh. ledebourii Pojark. and Rh. sichotense Pojark. However, in literature there is still no consensus about the taxonomy of this species. We undertook AFLP analysis of genetic variability of 9 populations of putative species Rh. dauricum, Rh. ledebourii and Rh. sichotense from Baikal region, West and East Sayan, Altai and Seaboard. In general 90 individuals of three rhododendron's species were genotyped on the 213 polymorphic loci. The estimation of interspecific distinction through two criteria on frequency of locus occurrence shows significant difference between all compared species. A scatter-plot, constructed with the help of analysis of normal coordinates in terms of Nei's genetic distances also confirms clear distinction of population sample into three disjoint groups: 1) populations of Rh. ledebourii; 2) populations of Rh. dauricum; 3) populations of Rh. sichotense. The degree of species' distinction agrees completely with their geographic location and distance from each other. Rh. ledebourii grows in mountains of Western Sayan and Altai; Rh. dauricum grows in mountains of Eastern Sayan, North Baikal region and Transbaikalia; Rh. sichotense grows in mountains of Sichote-Alin and neighboring part of seashore. These investigations confirm the specific status of three rhododendron's species and are consistent with the geographical habitat. Financial support of this project was provided by M. Prokhorov's Foundation.

© 2012 Organizing Committee