In Northern Europe, dandelion populations consist solely of triploid or higher polyploid apomicts. Without a regular sexual cycle or lateral gene transmission, a clonal structure is expected for Taraxacum apomicts, although this was not found by compatibility analysis. In this study, we investigate whether this observation could be suported by performing independent tests based on data from hypervariable microsatellite markers as well as more conservative data based on allozymes and matrilinear cpDNA markers. In addition, population genetic methods were used to test departure from panmictic expectations, which is expected for clonal populations. Results indicated that many data sets, again, did not agree with expectations from clonal evolution because only small groups of genotypes exhibit no marker incompatibility. Population genetic analysis revealed that virtually all genotypes, but not individuals, agreed with random segregation and genotypic equilibria. Exceptions were genotypes with rare allozyme alleles or nearly identical microsatellite genotypes. Consequently, a population sample of apomictic dandelions essentially harbours genotypes that resulted from segregation and/or recombination and only a few genotypes that may have differentiated by somatic mutations [KEYWORDS: Taraxacum, apomixis, AFLPs, character incompatibility]
Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date2003

ID: 255521