Allozyme Variation and Population Genetic Structure of an Invasive Plant, Ageratina altissima(White Snakeroot), in Seoul

  • Published : 2001.12.01

Abstract

Allozyme studies have been widely used to estimate genetic variation and to describe genetic structure in natural populations. In many cases, the genetic diversity of recently established populations is generally lower than that of central populations. In addition, the genetic composition of an invasive species is influenced by its History of introduction as well as its ecological characters. Ageratina altissima (L.) R. King & H. Robinson (white snakeroot) is a perennial herb native to the eastern United States and Canada, and is currently receiving much attention for its rapid invasion of the Korean forests. Starch gel electrophoresis was used to assess the genetic variability at 11 putative loci in seven introduced populations of A. altissima in Seoul. Populations of A. altissima maintained lower levels of allozyme diversity (expected heterozygosity = 0.063) than those reported for other taxa with similar ecological traits. The degree of differentiation observed among A. altissima populations was considerably low. It is suggested that the populations were recently established from only a few founders via dispersal by human activities, resulting in the loss of genetic variation.

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