ISSN 10227954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2012, Vol. 48, No. 10, pp. 985–992. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2012.
Original Russian Text © N.A. Tikhonova, M.A. Polezhaeva, E.A. Pimenova, 2012, published in Genetika, 2012, Vol. 48, No. 10, pp. 1153–1161.
is the most numerous in
the family Ericaceae; it numbers more than 1000 spe
cies, 21 of which grow in Russia . Closely related
species of rhododendrons with uncertain taxonomic
status deserve the special interest of researchers.
Among these species, widely distributed representa
tives of the subgenus
occur . In Siberia,
L.; in the Far East they are
Turcz. These are shrubs with heights of
0.5 to 3 m; the leaves winter and are lost in the spring.
Ornamental inflorescences are pink, or rarely white.
These rhododendrons grow alone or as brushwood,
usually in the understory; along mountain slopes, they
climb to the alpine belt . In the literature, no unified
opinion on the taxonomy of these species is found, due
to their considerable morphological similarity and
high level of polymorphism. Some researchers ques
tion the species independence of
[4, 5], while the others accept it [1, 6–
8]. However, the latter authors do not agree on the
geographical assignment of the ranges of these species.
In recent years, attempts to define the system of
(Maxim.) have been made.
For example, based on leaf anatomy, two welldistin
guished groups were isolated. The Eastern Siberian
are similar with respect to their anatomy and mor
phology and occupy similar ranges; the Primorye
These species appear to be different in the composi
tions and contents of several chemical substances .
However, phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus
, based on sequencing of the nuclear
DNA ITS1–ITS2 spacer region showed a weakly sup
ported differentiation within the subcluster of the
, making the establishment of the true
phylogenetic relationships within this group impossi
ble . These species are also close with respect to
the morphogenetic parameters .
In this study, we used AFLP (amplified fragment
length polymorphism) analysis. These dominant
nuclear markers are randomly distributed across the
genome. Earlier, they were successfully used in popu
AFLP Analysis of the Genetic Diversity of Closely Related
Rhododendron Species of the Section Rhodorastra (Ericaceae)
from Siberia and the Far East of Russia
N. A. Tikhonova
, M. A. Polezhaeva
, and E. A. Pimenova
Sukachev Forest Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoyarsk, 660036 Russia;
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia;
Abramov SikhoteAlin State Biosphere Reserve, Primorsky krai, Terney, 692150 Russia;
Received February 27, 2012; in final form, April 17, 2012
—Using AFLP analysis, the genetic variation in four population samples of
, three such samples of
, two samples of
, and one sample of
was examined. Application of three selective primer pairs provided genotyping of 87 accessions from the
four species at 213 loci. An analysis of molecular variance revealed a high level of differences between all four
= 0.172). Populations within the species were also differentiated: for
= 0.034. The highest Nei distance was observed for
= 0.057 and 0.069, respectively). Similarity was
observed between the species pairs of
(0.034). The Far Eastern species
were characterized by an ele
vated level of intrapopulation variation. The data from the AFLPbased analysis of differentiation and varia
tion that were thus obtained were compared with the literature data on the morphological criteria that differ
entiate the species of interest and those regarding the history of the formation of their ranges. The
independence of all the species we examined was confirmed.