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Genetic, population features and reproductive success in Gymnocalycium monvillei (Cactaceae) along an elevation gradient
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  • Karen Bauk,
  • Diego Gurvich,
  • Zlatko Liber,
  • Zlatko Satovic,
  • Maria Laura Las Peñas
Karen Bauk
IMBIV
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Diego Gurvich
IMBIV
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Zlatko Liber
Universitiy of Zagreb, Faculty of Science
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Zlatko Satovic
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture
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Maria Laura Las Peñas
IMBIV

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

In mountain environments, populations of a species are subjected to different environmental conditions. Environmental variables impose different selection pressures that could result in a marked heterogeneity in genetic characteristics (e.g. ploidy level, genome size, population genetic diversity and structure), population features and reproductive success. Cactaceae inhabit in arid and semi-arid areas of America, from sea level to 4500 m a.s.l. and in these environments, species can present wide altitudinal ranges. The aim of this work was to analyze how genetic (cytogenetic, DNA content and AFLP genetic diversity), population features (population density and individual size) and reproductive success are related to an altitudinal gradient in five populations of Gymnocalycium monvillei. Our results showed that individuals in all studied populations are tetraploid. Analyses of the genetic structure revealed that the five altitudinal populations could be genetically two populations and that, regardless of population affiliation, all individuals analyzed are genetically very similar. The population density and individual size varied unimodally in the gradient. The population at intermediate altitude had the highest number of seeds per plant, so this population would be presenting favorable ecological conditions. Interestingly, more differences among the populations have been found in their population features and reproductive success than in genetic characters among the populations.