Polyploidy and possible implications for the evolutionary history of some Australian Danthonieae

C Waters, B.G. Murray, G Melville, D. Coates, A. Young, James Virgona

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Polyploidy is a widespread feature of some plants that allows for rapid speciation and occurs widely in Poaceae.However, there have been few studies of Australian native grasses reporting the distribution patterns of cytotypes and examining the potential role of different cytotypes in adaptation. We determined chromosome number for 48, 113, 8, 43 and 33 plants of Austrodanthonia bipartita (Link) H.P.Linder, A. caespitosa (Gaudich.) H.P.Linder, A. eriantha (Lindl.)H.P.Linder, A. fulva (Vickery) H.P.Linder and A. setacea (R.Br.) H.P.Linder, respectively, representing 28 wild populations collected in central western New South Wales. A widespread distribution is reported for tetraploids(2n = 48), whereas diploids (2n = 24) and a limited number of hexaploids (2n = 72) appear to be associated with northern and western populations. In all populations, coexistent cytotypes were found, although tetraploids were the most widespread cytotype for the most commonly occurring species, A. caespitosa. The occurrence of low frequencies of putative intermediate cytotypes, particularly triploids, in all five species provides evidence for inter-specific hybridisation and/or intra-specific crossing between cytotypes. The lack of common ecological factors (climate, edaphic or micro-site)that clearly distinguish diploid from tetraploid A. caespitosa plants provides further evidence for hybridisation between cytological races of this species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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